Monday, January 27, 2014

Dream come true.

I bought a 2014 Jeep Wrangler today.  Well, actually I bought the idea of a 2014 Wrangler today.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to go into a dealership and order a custom-made vehicle.  Have it built specifically for me.

Last Saturday I went to go test drive a new Wrangler, to see if I wanted to get a new one, and I fell in love with the 6-speed manual transmission and the 3-piece hard top that lets you pull off just the part over the front seats, much like the T-tops of the 70’s.

The one we test drove went for $32,000, which ended being out of my payment range.  Without pushing me to go for the vehicle out of my price range, Trevor said he’s look into low mileage used ones, and even see if he could price a build my own that fit into my range,  I told him my requirements (6-speed manual, 3-piece hardtop, 2-door, air conditioning and posi-traction rear end) and he went to work.

He called today and told me that he priced one that would fit my budget, only problem was that it doesn’t have posi-traction.  To get that I’d have to go up a trim level and add a few thousand dollars. 

I went down, talked to him and decided that I could live without the posi-traction.  4 out of 5 ain’t bad.  So all I had to do was pick the color (you guess which color I picked) and sign a ton of papers.

In 6 weeks to 2 months, I’ll be driving a brand new 2014 Jeep Wrangler.  But right now my Jeep is just a bunch of parts hanging out somewhere in Detroit (or wherever they build them) and it doesn’t even have a color.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thematic Photographic: Greyish.

I had a hard time with this theme.  Not because I didn’t have an overabundance of photos that fit the theme, but because it’s January and most of them involve the inversion.

In an attempt to avoid/forget/deny it, I found these three pictures that fit the theme “greyish”.

The ceiling of my classroom, where a student decided to store their pencil.

The moon, with clouds wafting in front of it.

and a cool old car that was hanging out at the park the other day.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Just Sayin’

Tomorrow I think I’m going down to the Salt Lake Tribune headquarters and apply to be their new Director of Inadvertent Innuendo Avoidance.

Unfortunately, with John Swallow’s political career in the toilet, I don’t think we’ll ever see him running for political office against Olympic gold medal swimmer Mark Spitz.  Now, that would have made a good headline.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Car Show

Let’s see.  A whole bunch of new cars in one place, and a few old ones to boot.  You can touch them, get in them, look under the hood and in the trunk. 

Of course I went to the Utah Auto Show this weekend.

Saw some Jaguars that were once again real Jaguars, not the overpriced Fords they were for a while there.  Hyundai has a new sports car that puts out over 350 horse power, that’ll be one fast car.  The new Dodge Dart doesn’t have any of the styling cues of the classic one, but still lives up to it’s name:  it’s practical, inexpensive and economical, and looks like it would be fun to drive. 

My little brother and his wife went with me.  we looked at a bunch of SUVs for my older brother – he thinks it’s time to trade in his 2000 Durango for something new.  We didn’t find many rear-wheel drive, 4 wheel drive (with 4-low) SUVs in a actual truck platform.  Most of them were all-wheel drive on a front-wheel drive platform, which is really good for getting around town in the snow, but not as good for hard off-road driving.

I can’t remember what year this came out, but I remember it being marketed as an off-road 2-seater sports car.  I did like the color, name and badge on this one.

Scion came out with their answer to the Smart Car.

It’s a little bit bigger than the Smart Car, and has actual back seats, although they are not what I would call roomy.  My brother pointed out that it looks a lot less awkward than the Smart Car, and I have to agree.

I wanted to sit in the new Corvette, but the line was too long.  From this picture my brother got, I think I wouldn’t have found it too comfortable.  Especially if the top had been on.

I did get to sit in the new Mazda MX-5 (formerly known as the Miata), and found the same problem I had when I was going to buy one when they first came out.  Sitting in a comfortable position, the top frame of the windshield was right at my eye level.

I fit a lot better in the VW Bug convertible.

But I could never own one, because only a double-amputee could ride in the back seat when I was driving.

The real reason I went was to go see the new Jeep Wranglers.  I love mine, but I’ve been thinking about getting a new one.  They replaced the old crappy V-6 with a new one that is much better.  It comes with a 6-speed manual transmission and a 2-piece hard top that gives a targa top effect.

My brother test drove one and says it’s still built as rugged as the one I have, which is what I want.  My requirements would include the manual transmission and hardtop in the Willey’s trim.  I’m not sure what color I want, you can check out the different possibilities, seen at our property, here.  Check them out at Arches national Park too, then come back and let me know which color you like the best.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Um, maybe ya should thought this one through a little bit more?

It was 9th Grade week this week, (8th & 7th are the next two weeks), and we’ve had games (for the 9th graders only) in the commons area every day during lunch.  Thursday’s game involved setting up red plastic cups full of water, having the contestants bounce a ping-pong ball on the table and hopefully into one of the opponent’s cups.

If the ball goes in, the cup gets removed and the player with the last cup left on the table wins.

Pretty innocuous, fun kind of game for a junior high, eh?

Until the kids start asking things like “Aren’t they supposed to chug it when the ball goes in?” or “It’s not supposed to be water in the cups, is it?”

I even had to inform a dozen or so kids that we were playing Water Pong when they asked about the Beer Pong game going on in the commons area.

Happy Birthday Lisa

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

I’ve been working with the same Vice-Principal for the last 3½ years at 2 different schools.  A week ago we got informed the district had decided to move him to another school.  That put the faculty in a panic, because he’s been fantastic and the previous Vice they had (I never worked with him) was, well, uh, … not nearly as good.  He didn’t ask to leave, really doesn’t want to, but when the district “asks”, you simply say “thanks & how high?”, especially if you ever want to make it to full-fledged Principal.

The good news is that we’re getting a rookie, an intern that is being promoted to his first full position.  A rookie is good because, of the five rookies I’ve seen my current Principal train, 2 have become a couple of the best Principals in the district, one is in charge of Technology and Adult Education for the entire district and the fourth, the one we just lost, is being transferred to a school in need of a strong V.P.  I have no idea what happened to the fifth, but an 80% success rate makes me comfortable that the new guy is going to be good.

Anyway, I decided we couldn’t just let him fade out into oblivion, so I orchestrated a fun farewell, live during Thursday’s morning announcements.  The Student Body Officers got him up to the studio on the premise of presenting him with a farewell card.  He made a little “I’m gonna miss you all” speech and then was presented with these:

Before things got too emotional, but mostly before he could escape, my Tech Crew and I presented him with one final farewell gift.

After he finally extricated himself from all the silly string, he told me “Now I know what it’s like to be an insect, getting sprayed with bug spray.”

Monday, January 13, 2014

More GoPro Time Lapses.

I got the suction cup mount in the mail this week, so here are a few new perspectives.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Old family story.

I saw this on Facebook today:

and I had to laugh.  I don’t know if it’s made up or not, but I tend to believe it’s true.  And, like I said on Facebook, if my Grandma Ida were alive today, it could have been her.

Why do I say that?  Because of an old family story that I know is true.  My mother wouldn’t lie to me, and if you knew my Grandma Ida, you’d believe it too.

My mom grew up in Harlem, NYC, in the 40’s.  One day my grandmother came home to their apartment building and saw an elderly man berating an 8 year-old girl because she was playing with a black boy in the lobby.  He was appalled that she had let “that boy” in their building.

My grandmother, who was a lot of things, but shy and demure were not two of them.  She told him to shut the hell up and leave those kids alone.  An argument ensued in which they “debated” the benefits and problems with inter-racial friendships.  Finally the man got fed up with arguing and told her “You wouldn’t think that if that was your daughter!

My grandmother pulled herself up to her  full 5’2” and told him “That is my daughter.

If there had been a fly swatter in her hand, I have no doubt she would have hit him with it right then.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Snorting chocolate milk.

I made a 9th grader shoot milk out his nose today.  He was sitting with a student that was absent yesterday.  When I asked him where he was yesterday the 9th grader said he was in Juvenile Detention, for robbing a bank, in a Taco Bell.  I told him that I have never seen a bank in a Taco Bell and asked him where it was.  He said it was in the bathroom (junior high kids can go from 0 to absurd in milliseconds).

Without thinking I came out with “I don’t think I’d want to swipe my ATM card in a toilet.”   That’s when he laughed so hard milk came out his nose.

When this picture came up as one of my background pictures on my school computer, a student told us that his mom doesn’t want a tombstone over her grave.  She wants her family to put up a parking meter.  Good thing I didn’t have a mouth full of chocolate milk.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Being a Hero

Over the break, I went out and bought myself a GoPro Hero.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s a really small camera that takes videos, photos and time-lapse photos.  It’s specifically designed for active photography.

What I mean by active photography is that it’s small and solid, comes with a water-proof case it films out of and two mounts.  Mine are already attached to the front bumper and side of the Jeep.  You can also order all kinds of other mounts: chest, wrist, suction cup (I ordered one), helmet, bicycle bar and (I also ordered one of these) a mount specifically made for vehicle roll bars.

It also has it’s own built in wifi, and an app that allows me to control the camera from my iPad.  I can watch it, change from video to photo to time-lapse and back, and start & stop capturing from inside the Jeep when it’s on it’s mount outside.

Here are a couple of time-lapse videos I made this week.  The first one is me driving from Smith’s to the local car wash.  I set the time-lapse at one picture every half a second, and the video at 1/10 second per picture, so it only 48 seconds long and moves 5 times normal speed.

Driving along 2100 South in Sugarhouse.

The second one was produced the same way, but it’s about 4 minutes long.

Driving up Emigration Canyon

I can’t wait to go 4-wheeling now.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Small storm cleared out the inversion.

Saturday I woke up to about an inch of snow on the yard.  No big deal, except it was a big deal that it cleared out the inversion.  Ahhhhh, clean air, so nice.

You’ll recognize two of these pictures from this post, when we went up to Park City to get out of the gunk.  I added a couple pictures to show how the same areas look without the inversion.  Enjoy, ‘cause I’m enjoying it, and the forcast I just saw has a couple small storms coming through the region this week, just enough to keep the valley scrubbed clean.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Irony at it’s best.

I got this from Paul Rolly, a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune.

Law Professor Lynn Wardle, the author of Utah’s Amendment 3, was doing a live online interview for The Tribune’s “Trib Talk” segment.

As he was berating Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling against the amendment, his cell phone rang.

His cell phone ring tone: “The Imperial March” from “Star Wars.”

Friday, January 03, 2014

Would you believe?

About 4:00 this afternoon I was standing in Library Square, pointing a gun at Clark Aposhian (yes, THE Clark Aposhian) and yelling “freeze”, “stop” and “back off” at the top of my lungs.

Yup, I was.  Full disclosure, though.  It was a plastic imitation of a Glock, and there were 4 other people pointing their imitation guns and screaming at him.  We were recreating an activity we performed during the Concealed Carry class that I attended today, for a news camera from an Australian TV station.

Yeah, they offered the CCP class free for teachers again, and I decided to take advantage of it.

I don’t own a gun and I certainly never will carry one into my classroom, but I was very curious about the whole process.  I was apprehensive when I went down to the Salt Lake City main library today.  I expected to be surrounded by total gun nuts and be fed a day full of NRA rhetoric.  I was pleasantly surprised.

I was there from 9 AM to after 4 PM, they even brought in lunch for us and there was probably only about 20 minutes of NRA rhetoric that had me rolling my eyes.

Clark Aposhian was charismatic, funny and sometimes downright reasonable (even to my liberal, anti-NRA self).  The day went pretty quickly, mainly because I found the class informative, interesting and entertaining.  Clark acknowledged that many of us would never bring a gun into our classrooms, didn’t try to convince us that it was our duty or even that we really should, and thanked us for just being there and considering it.

The morning was spent on gun safety, responsibility and defensive behaviors that would help us avoid the need to even pull the gun.  We also discussed the uses and responsibilities of carrying a gun into the classroom.   He didn’t right-out say “don’t be a dumbass and try to take out the shooter in a chaotic crowd of kids”, but he did say that we should follow the district policy for a lock down and use the gun if the shooter breaks through the door.

The afternoon was spent on the legal aspects of using the gun.  What is, and isn’t, “reasonable force”.    Where we could carry it and who had the right to tell us not to bring it there.  He asked when it was legal to kill a person, and then explained it was never legal to kill a person.  This may seem like a technicality, but to me is was a big change in thinking;  You are allowed to use reasonable force to prevent another human being from doing you, or someone else,  personal harm and if it results in their death, so be it.  But saying things like “If someone did that, I’d kill them.” can end you up in trouble.  Because whenever you shoot someone it’s an assault, and killing someone is murder.  You may have justification but, like he said many times, you’re going to have to explain yourself.  And the prosecutor is going to talk to all your family, friends and co-workers, and comments like “I’d kill them” aren’t going to bode well.

There were a lot more examples, but I’ll sum it up by saying that I was surprised at how much of the conversation was geared towards not using the gun you have a permit for.

Finally, if I ever do get a gun, I know which one I’m going to get.

Look at the name on the barrel and you’ll see why (click on the picture so you can see it).  They had one of these for us to look at and hold, and I started laughing when I noticed the name on it.  The guy showing it to me was a little relieved when I explained that it had the same name as me.

So, now I have everything I need to get a Concealed Carry Permit, all I have to do is write a $46 check and send it in.  They even gave me the big envelope.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Park City

Lisa Shafer and I took a trip up to Park City, for a couple of reasons.  To get out of the smog:

and to get pictures.  We figured, especially with my telephoto lens, that we could get some good pictures.  Turned out even better, because they added this snow half-pipe since the last time I was up there skiing (around 1980, so it could have been there for a while.)

Here are a few of the pictures I got. 

Click below to see the rest of the pictures I liked.