Sunday, February 27, 2011

No comment necessary.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Capitol Letters

I was up at the Utah State Capital this morning for a rally in support of the protesting Wisconsin workers.  It was a lot colder and snowier than it was just a year ago when I went up for the Utah Public Employees rally, when the state was talking about eliminating much of our retirement benefits.
So I went inside the building to warm myself up, and find a restroom, and along the way I found a lot of letters.  And, of course, I took pictures of them.  They are pretty much self explanatory, so here they are without captions, (there are 15 of them, so it may load slowly, but not as slowly as that post I had with 20 some-odd of them. And remember, you can always click on them to see them better): And one last one that I’m going to give you a link to, along with a warning that one of the signs a protestor is holding uses David Koch’s name in a fairly offensive (but, in my opinion, amusing) way.  Here’s the link, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
More pictures of letters can be found on Carmi’s blog, Written Inc., by clicking the banner below.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not the letters you want…

to see 5 of your teachers standing under: This picture was taken with my state-of-the-art digital camera back in 1998.  As you can see, the quality of digital cameras has improved tremendously.
The school had sent 5 of us to Denver for a Mid-Level conference, one specifically designed for middle school teachers.  A history teacher, English teacher, science teacher and two math teachers.  The woman in the yellow (2nd from the right) was in her early 60’s and desperately seeking a Symphony bar, so we had been spending some time driving around Denver looking for a place that sold them.  We came across this place, and being a little naive, she believed me when I told her that I was pretty sure they would sell them in there.  Yes, we stopped there and, yes, I let her get halfway out of the car but, no, I did not let her actually go into the store.  I may have a twisted sense of humor, but I’m not cruel.  And she had enough of a sense of humor that she still agreed to be in this picture for our Principal.
If you want to see a bunch of other pictures involving letters, and even join in Carmi’s Thematic Photographic fun, just click on the banner below.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spirit week at the Junior High

And spirits are high.  They’ve been hyper and preoccupied, but it’s still been fun at times. 
Tuesday was “Pajama Day”.   A bunch of teenagers roaming around in onsies, or as I remember them being called “Dr. Denton’s”
Wednesday was “Twin Day” where you are supposed to get a friend and dress alike.  There were a few sets of “Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3, …”, but the most creative was the kid who came with a hand mirror.  Whenever someone asked where his twin was, he’d hold it up next to his face and say “There.”
Today was “Retro Day”, and although the 80’s seemed to be highly favored, there were a few good hippies.  From these two, who just ached for a photoshopped background, (No, that’s not Marsha Brady in the foreground). to this “Power to the Math” silhouette: And we have to go back to the 50’s for this authentic looking greaser:
And finally, a couple of funny things kids said:
My starter exercise for Tuesday was a list of things I wanted to remind students of, there were no math problems at all.  About half way through the 5 minutes they get to do the starter a student in the back raised his hand.  When I called on him he told me “when I put #3 into my calculator I keep getting an error message.”  Not only was it witty and unexpected, even funnier was the two or three students who voiced honest confusion as to why he was even using the calculator.
Today on the announcements they reminded students that swearing was not allowed in class, and that since we were starting to have real problems with this, the administration was going to crack down on it.  This started a conversation about Freedom of Speech, and how it’s never been absolute (the kids actually first voiced that).  During the conversation, one student misunderstood me when I said “Constitutional Rights” and asked what the conversation had to do with “constipational plight”.  I don’t care if she was kidding or serious, that’s a funny play on words.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just a bunch of pictures from the new Nikon

I’ll only post a couple here, the rest you’ll have go to my Windows Live account to see.  Last time I posted around 20 pictures, I got a couple comments about download time.  Nice compliments about the pictures being worth the wait, but still we’ll see if it’s better this way.
“Dishes, smishes.  I’m relaxing here.”
Nighttime picture of the mountains at the mouth of Emigration Canyon.  Undoctored and unplanned.  It just came out that way.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

My World

The site that I found to log the states I’ve visited also has the same function for the entire world, and I went ahead and made my own map for that: Abysmal 5.33%.  Even worse was when I clicked on a friend’s blog and saw her map of the U.S.  Alexia has been to 46% of the states here.  Now, less than half the country may not be that great, until you consider she lives in New Zealand.  A lot more impressive than making it to 80% of a country where I never have to get off terra firma to do it.

But I looked at my map of the world and realized, although I’ve made it “across the pond” as the British say, I have yet to log a single spot below the equator.  So I think I need to officially add to my goals.  After I make it to 100% of the continental U.S., I’m going to have to make it below the equator.  Maybe Alaska first, but Hawaii is going to wait.  If I’m going to go airborne, I might as well make it across the equator.

Gotta have a goal in life.

I came across this web site the other day, What states have you been to?, and plugged in all the states I have at least driven through.  Here’s the map it created (I enhanced it a little bit, among adding the percentage the site gave me below the map): As you can see, there is a chunk of the continental United States that I seem to have avoided.  The only reason I can even count Florida is because of a family cruise that took off from Miami and stopped in Key West one day. 

Well, I’ve decided to make it my goal to add this so-far ignored part of the county to my “visited” list, changing my map into this one: Hopefully someday I’ll add the last two states, and maybe even the U.S. territories to my list, but for now I’ll just settle for hitting the south.

Though I don’t think I’ll rent a Metallic Mint Green 1964 Buick Skylark convertible for the trip.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I write the songs…

Parent/Teacher conferences were this week.  That makes for longs days in a long week, but at least I have a 4 day weekend coming up after that.  Two other good things came up while I was parent-less this evening.
Mr. B was a history teacher at my school, who is taking a few years off to take care of a special-needs child of his.  He was also one of the most favoritest teachers in the school.  I kid you not when I tell you that at the end of the school year, after hearing his going away talk to his classes, the halls were filled (ok, not filled, but there were a few) with young girls crying.  And not because he was the hot young teacher on the block, ‘cause he ain’t that type.  The kids just loved him.
Well, today one of my students told me that I was his “new Mr. B".”  I don’t flatter myself enough to think that I would have been able to knock him off his pedestal had he stayed at the school, but to be put up there after he vacated it, is quite an honor.  One of those moments that make teaching worthwhile.
Earlier on in the evening, again while I was parentless, another student came over and wanted to play some songs from his playlist on the laptop I was using.  He even had a small set of speakers so we could actually hear it.  He’s one of my Academic Team students [ see you next Tuesday, Writer :) ], so I said ok, at least while there were no parents.  He logs on, pulls up his playlist and I glanced at it, expecting to recognize one or, if I’m lucky, two songs.  Hallelujah, I again have faith in the future of the human race.  Out of 80 songs, there were less than 10 that I did not recognize.  Bob Marley, Journey, REO Speedwagon, The Scorpions, Aretha Franklin, Quiet Riot, Billy Joel, CCR, The Beach Boys, The Who, Roy Orbison, Beethoven, Eagles, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Twisted Sister, Police, Johnny Cash (Ring of Fire), Def Leppard, Queen, Metallica, Elvis Presley (Hound Dog) and (yes, Writer) The Beatles.  Looks a lot like my iPod playlist.  Oh, and he didn’t just have them on there to look retro, we played some and he knew the words to them, at least the chorus.
Yes, it’s been a hell of a long day, but for those two things, it was worth it.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

I nose how

to tell the two cats apart now.  It’s in the nose.  Denny has a lot of black in his nose, Alan’s nose is entirely pink except for the edges.  There’s probably other things I’ll notice along the way, but at least for now I have a way. 
Now, personality wise there are big differences.  Alan likes to lay around, is happy being petted but just as willing to just lie at my feet or on my lap.  Denny on the other hand, will follow me around the house trying to get my attention.  This morning while I was making coffee and breakfast he literally climbed me a couple times.  Which isn’t fun since I was wearing my sleeping shorts and a light shirt.  Gonna have to break him of that habit.  They’re already getting the hint that the dining room table is off limits, so I figure they’ll just have to learn what is allowed and what isn’t.
I was afraid that they were going to keep me up all night with their meowing, but after about 10 minutes of trying to get my attention at my bedroom door, they figured out that I was down for the evening and just went about their own business.  Which is good, because I can’t sleep with cats on my bed, I move around too much and feel confined when something I can squish is right there next to me.
It’s going to be an interesting ride for the next few months.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Strangers – for now.

Well, I finally did it.   As some of you know, my cat that I’d had for about 16 years died back in November.   For the last couple of weeks I’ve been checking the classifieds for kittens, and today I got myself a pair.  I got them from a lady that runs a Veterinary Clinic up in Heber, so they both had their shots and were fixed, for a grand total of $20.   In the ad she called them Bo and Luke, my guess after the brothers in the old “Dukes of Hazard” show.   I scrapped the names, but kept the concept – Denny and Alan.  Might have something to do with me watching my “Boston Legal” DVDs this week.  Not sure which is going to be which yet, got to get to know them a little better first.   Anyhow, here’s a few pictures I took of them with the new Nikon D3100: I’m already noticing their different personalities.  I was sitting on the floor getting pictures of them when one of them came up and laid in my lap.  He sat there, letting me pet him, for about a half hour while the other cat roamed around the house exploring.
And here’s one last picture, just so you know there really are two of them: