Monday, October 31, 2005


We are doing sentence diagramming in school. I hand them a new worksheet. I give them some work time and then we do them on the board together.

I have students that won't even copy down the answers onto their paper. They have blank papers at the end of class.

I use the same sentences to quiz them over every five lessons. If they would copy them down, they would have the answers.

I can't do it for them.

How do I do this?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mixed 6 2005

The Mixed 6 Tournament. Some of the villages around here are so small that they cannot field a complete team of girls for volleyball, so they go co-ed. Three boys and three girls. This weekend was the big Mixed 6 Tournament that brings a lot of visitors and trade into Nome. It is a very big deal.

We had a double elimination bracket tournament. Nome is fielding four complete teams of girls since it’s our tournament and we have 38 girls in the program. Our four teams even have nicknames. Team 1 is known as “The Uno” or “The Big Show.” Team 2 is known as “The Deuce.” Team 3 is known as “The Trifecta.” Team 4 is known as “ESPN: The Quatro” (a slight tip of the hat to the movie Dodgeball when they joke with the TV channel called ESPN—The Ocho).

The Big Show beat Shishmaref (which had guys on it) but then lost in three straight games to Point Hope, the eventual winner of the tournament. We were then beat 3 games to 2 by Golovin. They were tough. One of my players won the Female MVP of the tournament.

The Deuce lost all three matches and wound up in last place. They lost to Galena, Golovin, and Shishmaref.

The Trifecta and ESPN: The Quatro were basically JV teams and played JV squads. The Trifecta lost to Galena JV and The Quatro lost to Point Hope JV. They then played each other in the Battle of Nome JV. I got to coach The Trifecta and we beat The Quatro. Point Hope JV also won the JV category.

Co-ed volleyball is a different game than the one we’ve been playing. The net is almost seven inches higher and we just couldn’t jump, most of us, so blocking becomes almost nonexistent. And some of those boys can really spike that ball hard. Some hits went by so fast that the girls either couldn’t react quickly enough or you could see in their faces that they were flinching a bit. Not that I blamed them. Some of those balls would make me run away.

So I am just taking those games as the exhibition games that they were. Practice again tomorrow at 6 am on the lower net. Get back to normal.

We have Ninilchik and Bethel JV coming in this weekend. I have to plan to have the concessions booth manned and have our girls help clean up the NRC (Nome Recreation Center) in order to save $200 a night. I have to start actively fundraising for next year.

One of the really interesting facts about this weekend was the fact that we needed extra referees for the Mixed 6 games. Hear this: we had to fly in a ref from Golovin. Not only did we pay her flight in but we also paid her the standard ref fee. That’s a lot of money. I was surprised that there weren’t more qualified refs here. The basketball refs are thinking about learning in order to make the extra money. Basketball here is HUGE.

This map shows where some other teams that participated in the Mixed 6 came from. This shows White Mountain, Golovin, and Unalakleet. Nome is featured as well. We cannot drive to any of these villages. For some reason, the only two towns connected here by a dirt road that is completely shut down during the winter are Nome and Teller. Next spring we will go to visit the village of Teller.

This is a closeup photo showing the extreme erosion in Shishmaref. I also scanned this picture from an issue of the Nome Nugget. The caption reads, "On the Brink--This abandoned house located at the west end of Shishmaref is a silent reminder of storms undermining the village's foundation." Photo by Diana Haecker.

A closer image of Shishmaref and how erosion is endangering the entire town. I also scanned this picture from an issue of the Nome Nugget. The caption reads, "Erosion Control--The bird's eye view of the west end of Shishmaref shows the 450-foot long Kawerak seawall built last year. It ends in front of the teacher housing, the red roofed building located. Babions--sand filled bags in steel mesh cages--block some of the brunt of the sea.The Corps of Engineers plan a 230-foot seawall project right in front of the teacher housing. Further to the east, a city project is underway to continue the riprap seawall." Photo by Diana Haecker.

An aerial view of Shishmaref, photo scanned from the Nome Nugget. The caption reads, "Overview--The community of Shishmaref is located on the Sarichef Island, a barrier island on the northern shore of the Seward Peninsula facing the Chukchi Sea." Photo by Diana Haecker.

This BBC article from last year estimates that the sea moves inland three "metres" a year in Shishmaref.

This is a map of Shishmaref, Alaska, another village that came in this weekend. It is at the top of the Seward Peninsula, north of Nome. (I don't know why it says "NOME" on this map.) Shishmaref has been talked about a lot in the papers here recently for concerns of erosion. There are literally buildings falling into the Bering Sea. I will post another picture showing this.

Six teams came in this weekend from the villages of Alaska to play in our second annual Mixed 6 Volleyball Tournament. These villages can't field a completely female team, so they choose to go co-ed. There is a lot of flying to get all these teams together. These villages are "off the road system." And amazingly, they still have fans come and watch. This map centers on the village called UNALAKLEET. They were a tough team and made it into the final match.

NFL Picks Week Eight

Arizona at Dallas
Chicago at Detroit
Cleveland at Houston (even though this is probably the one game that Houston will win all year, I am still picking Cleveland)
Green Bay at Cincinnati
Jacksonville at St. Louis
Minnesota at Carolina
Oakland at Tennessee
Washington at NY Giants
Kansas City at San Diego
Miami at New Orleans
Philadelphia at Denver
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
Buffalo at New England
Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Nisqually Falls from another angle. This was really pretty that day.

Looking down from the Nisqually Falls near Mt. Rainier.

We live in what are called the Nome-Beltz apartments on the north side of Nome-Beltz Junior/Senior High School. Morgan here is enjoying one of the rather warm days from back in late August. The really interesting thing about this area is that there is not a lot of actual pavement. Most of Nome-Teller Highway is paved from the high school to town (about 3.5 miles). There are several paved roads in town. There is no huge chunk of asphalt around the school. It is just dirt ground. It gets kind of muddy during the rain. Snow just packs down. My neighbor buys the extreme radials for his car, tires that places in Anchorage won't even put on normal vehicles. You need them for driving over some of the rocks and the nails that are still in the ground from gold mining days and the new construction that is going around the high school for the new gym and cafeteria. The school bond just passed so they are going to renovate the junior high area, causing even more construction.

Here's another picture of the adorable one posing with Mt. Rainier. She was mimicking taking a picture of me as I take one of her.

The Onion has been asked to stop using the presidential seal on it website. Is this an administration that doesn't have enough to do? Are they picking on somebody that is making fun of them? Are they going to go after The Daily Show with Jon Stewart soon? I have noticed that Jon Stewart is being tenaciously critical and resentful of Bush. It is almost to the point where I won't watch it anymore because it feels like I am the bystander watching the bully pick on the kid that can't defend himself. The weird part in that analogy is that the weak kid is the President. Is it a seal that can't be used anywhere else? I like what the editor-in-chief of The Onion says about it in this article: "I would advise them to look for that other guy Osama (bin Laden) ... rather than comedians. I don't think we pose much of a threat," Dikkers said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The store

When's the last time you saw a vehicle in the middle of the grocery store?

The AC grocery store when we first got here had a couple of four-wheelers for sale. A lot of getting around Nome is done by four-wheeler. Kids can drive them too and some drive them to school, even junior high kids. They run upwards of $4,000 but they are good to get around when the snow is here and roads are bad. There is a "feud" here between those that love Arctic Cat (there is a saying I've heard that "Arctic Cat is Arctic Crap") and Polaris, much like the people that feud over Chevrolet and Ford.

This is is a picture of my daughter Madison trying it out.



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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The sunsets here can be spectacular. I took this photo myself.


I talked to my neighbor down the hall yesterday because I mentioned how nice her parka was. It had real beaver fur and looked cozy and warm. She told me the story of how she got it. She was in Shishmaref and mentioned to a woman that she wanted one someday. A couple of months later, a handmade parka arrived. Apparently, that is a kind of bargaining here. Just mentioning that you covet something is an open call to have somebody get it for you--and then you give adequate compensation. Thing here is that these parkas run about $800-$1000. My neighbor said she managed to talk her down a bit but she still paid for it.

I took this picture from the Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is a photo of a Native woman ice fishing by Jim Adams.


Madison posing in front of Mt. Rainier at the Nisqually Vista, 2005.

Walrus meat

I scanned this picture from a newspaper I brought home from Barrow called The Alaska Bush Shopper (October 2005). The print says, "Kurtis Kemp, 16, who took part in his first round Island walrus hunt, slices off a hunk of meat from one of the three walrus that was shot at the refuge. The crew gave the meat to anyone who wanted it and sent dozens of pounds of meat to Manokotak. The Qayassiq Walrus Commission started the officially sanctioned hunts on the state-managed game sanctuary in 1995." Hunting is normal here, so much so that I am in the extreme minority as never even handling a gun. Hunting around here is life. Pictures like this are like a trophy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The plane! The plane!

The plane! The plane! This is the plane that we have used. This is the Nome cross country team before they left for regionals.

Early morning looking up Anvil Mountain on the left and the old radar installations on the right top of the mountain.


This picture is taken directly from the Barrow Visitor's Guide. I have been looking it up ever since I heard that even the mayor participates in the whaling, still a prime need of sustenance in the northern Alaska area. I was astonished at the huge whale skullbones that were still left on the beach. The high school has a gigantic whale skull proudly displayed outside the school. After all, they are the Whalers.

I finally got another roll of film developed from my trek up the mountain. (I know, I know, I have to join the digital age...) This is taken standing next to the Anvil looking toward the old radar stations on the other side of the hill. These radar stations are left over from the Cold War when they were worried about the Russians coming over through Alaska.

The Visitor's Guide to Barrow. They are quite proud of the walrus and the polar bear.

Hole in One

Dad finally did it. He's been waiting decades through millions of holes of golf. He finally hit his first hole in one today.

Hi Matt, it's Dad had to let you know this, I had a hole in 1 today on #17 an 8 iron from abou 145 yds, so now I can quit playing golf. What kind of plane did you fly on to Barrow.

Congratulations, Dad.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

NFL Picks

Chargers vs Eagles--Chargers--LOSS
Titans vs Cardinals--Cardinals
Chicago vs Baltimore--Chicago
Buffalo vs Oakland--Buffalo
Broncos vs Giants--Broncos
Colts vs Texans--Colts--WIN
Jets vs Falcons--Falcons
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati--Pittsburgh--WIN
Detroit at Cleveland--Detroit--WIN
Packers vs Vikings--Packers--LOSS (Who would've thought Vikings could
kick a 56-yarder?)
Saints vs Rams--Rams--WIN
49ers vs Redskins--Redskins--WIN
Cowboys vs Seahawks--Seahawks
Miami vs Kansas City--Kansas City--WIN

Typed up at 8:35 am 10-23-05

Last year rant

This is a rant that I wrote by hand a couple of years ago while I was
working at Bremerton High School. I saved it because I have to start
creating snippets of actual students. I think I could collect stories
into a book. This was also written when I thought that the standards
were being too easily glossed over in what seemed an attempt to let
students pass through just to graduate with their cohorts so it doesn't
look bad for the school district.

A high school diploma should not be a "gimmee." A gimmee is what we do
on the golf course for a two-inch putt. The current educational system
is turning a four-year high school degree into a gimmee.

Just yesterday, my principal chose to share with the entire staff his
education over the past year. In his speech, fully equipped with a
Power Point presentation, he talked of how we as teachers have to make
sure the students have learned the material. He quipped that it is no
longer acceptable to say, "I taught it; it's not my fault they didn't
learn it."

I believe in that on a certain level. I believe it is my job to present
material in a meaningful and interesting way. It is my job to walk
along the learning path with the student, helping him turn left or
right and to guide over obstacles along the way.

However, there are times when students jump off the path in spite of my
efforts. Sometimes, even as I hold his educational hand, he pulls away
purposefully, almost wickedly. Learning cannot take place with a closed
mind. It is a two-way path.

In my current position, I teach a total of 60 students; three sections
of regular sophomore English and two sections of regular senior
English. I have several students who have impeded my progress. I have
several students where the paperwork and time to combat failure and
apathy seriously subtracts time from high performance and learning.

At least we took two

The Nome volleyball team couldn't pull it out tonight. We lost the
first game in a big loss 25-11. We managed to come back and win the
next two games. Then we lost the fourth game and seemed out of it for
the 15-point fifth game.

At least we took two games this time. I don't mind getting beaten, as
long as we play hard and to the best of our abilities. We did that
today. Last night we didn't, but we did that today.

We have been treated so well here in Barrow. I have had three square
meals a day that have to be making me fatter. We have had the athletic
director be our own personal guide around Barrow. We have had snacks
every night brought to us by the other team. I have my own room with TV
every night. It has felt like a five-star hotel. The only thing I'm
missing is my family.

We go home tomorrow about 3pm. I will actually get to watch most of the
football games first.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Arctic Ocean

You know, when I stop to think about some of the amazing things I've
done in my (almost) 33 years of life, I really am quite lucky.

I have been to Europe and been to England several times. I have seen
the top of the Eiffel Tower and L'Arc de Triomphe. I have gazed upon
the real Mona Lisa. I have been on the Autobahn in Germany. I have
driven through the small country of Luxembourg (even though we didn't
get out of the car). I have walked on cobbled streets in Brugge,

I have been to Florida and California, including Los Angeles, San
Francisco and San Diego. ( I even went into Tijuana, Mexico, with my
family). I have lived in Seattle and Chicago. I have driven solo across
the country from Chicago to Seattle three times. Solo. I have seen Mt.
Rushmore and Devil's Tower.

This morning the athletic director took us out looking around in the
daylight. There are still whale skullbones strewn upon the beaches from
the whaling. We went to the Welcome to Barrow sign that proudly
displays these whale bones and I got out to the ocean.

First of all, this is the first time I have ever seen a freezing ocean.
Salt water does freeze. Chunks of ice washed in with each crashing of
the waves. It looked kind of dirty but that's the sea. I had to climb
over slush in order to get to the waves as they sloshed up. I managed
to get there, crunching into some of the ice. I dipped my hands into
the Arctic Ocean.

This is now my third ocean. I have swam in the Pacific and the
Atlantic. I always thought this was just a dream, a place on the map
that I would probably never get to. I am here in Barrow, Alaska.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tough Loss

Nome Varsity couldn't pull it together tonight. We lost in three
straight games to Barrow. The Junior Varsity won 3 games to 2, winning
the first, third and last game. They really pulled it together and
played tough.

Barrow played well. I'm not saying they didn't. They have this amazing
hitter that has a cannon for an arm. I would get out of the way if she
hit one toward me. Chelsea got to one of those hits but it richocheted
into her face and is going to wind up with a nice shiner. What I am
saying is that Nome should have at least won one game, maybe two. It
should have been closer than it was.

We have to work on eliminating our own mistakes. We're hitting it into
the net and then hitting it long out of bounds. There was a few times
when we were letting the ball drop and we had a big hole in the middle
on the sides. We were making a lot of mistakes, and with this rally
scoring making mistakes gives the other team points--the ultimate

As I was watching and thinking about this tonight, I can't think of any
other sport where points are given away without really earning them. If
we have a bad serve, that's a point for the other team. A team can just
sit back and let the other team make mistakes in order to get points.
You don't even have to have a real offense, just wait for the other
team to foul up. As long as a team keeps digging it out and getting it
back over, the chances are pretty good, especially at the junior
varsity and even sometimes on the varsity. We just can't be a good team
if we wait for the others to make a mistake.

We get to play again tomorrow. We get another chance. The girls need to
get psyched up a bit more. The athletic director is going to be taking
us all for a tour of Barrow tomorrow morning about 10:30. I have to buy
a disposable camera.

October 21

Happy Anniversary, Amy.

Five years and still madly in love.

You have given me joy.

You have given me a family.

You have made my life complete.

I love you, honey.


Barrow Friday

Today was like a vacation day. We woke up nice and late at 8. It's
still very dark then. We had an amazing breakfast of eggs and biscuits
and gravy. We played a bit of morning volleyball with only our socks
on. We had a jumbalaya and rice lunch that I really couldn't eat after
gorging at breakfast. At lunch were some native elders that we got to
sit next to. Then we went back to the gym and really focused on our 6-2
offense. I wasn't seeing how it was translating into points but the
girls convinced me. They said they had an off practice yesterday
morning and didn't play hard. That'll change.

Right now, I am typing this in the gym at 3:15 pm. This really is an
amazing gym, with a track up around the outside, 10 basketball nets,
and a really good and well-marked volleyball court. This is the home of
the Barrow Whalers. They still do a lot of whaling around here and the
season apparently just closed down. The mayor, I've been told, helped
bring in the biggest whale this season. Their school symbol is a
drawing of a kayak of eskimos paddling toward a whale. It's a neat
heritage to be a part of, with such a sense of community. All along the
walls here in the school are motivational posters in Inupiat language
with an English translation. I really want to learn it a little bit,
especially the basic sounds of some of the new letters. They use the
(enye) thing that goes over the N in some Spanish words. They also
appear to use a single a N symbol with a curved right side and I would
think that stands for the "ing" sound, but I'm not sure. And U does not
necessarily have to follow a Q here either. I really want to understand


I can't believe I'm here. Barrow, Alaska. The top of the world. The
northernmost point in the United States of America. And I'm here.

We flew in on Frontier Airlines. This was another nineteen-seater
propeller plane. This one though had a really low ceiling and you had
to bend over almost in half to get to your seat. It only took about an
hour and a half, even though the pilot said it would take two hours. We
flew in over the Arctic Ocean to land. We flew in over the Arctic
Ocean! This is now my third ocean. The water is actually frozen on one
side of the land spit that is Point Barrow. I have never seen frozen
ocean before.

The high school is fabulous here. This is the North Slope School
District and they have money here. Talking to some people, I found out
that there is a lot of native money and scientific money--lots of
eminent scientists come up here to study the arctic region and that
funnels money in. I have been immensely impressed with the buildings
like the high school, quite possibly the best looking high school and
gym that I have ever seen, and the AC grocery store. (I was even able
to buy a Superman comic at the AC!)

The athletic director even took us on a drive looking for polar bears.
There have been some in town, he says, and we went out to the spit to
see if we could find any. Not tonight, but he didn't seem too worried
and mentioned that we have more days.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tomorrow, I get to fly to Barrow, Alaska, affectionately known here in Alaska as the "Top of the World." I always knew it as the answer to a trivia question: What's the northernmost point of the United States of America? I am so excited. This is the first of two trips this year as I go back on December 2nd. This website says, "The sun never rises for 51 days between November 18th and January 24th. If it's not cloudy and the stars are out there's a great chance for viewing of the northern lights."

Before we left Washington, we took a quick trip to Mt. Rainier. I love this picture, with the trees (oh, how I miss the trees), and Madison standing taller than the mountain. We took this at the visitor center near the top. That was a great day. It is a picture like this that I will always remember the face of Madison, for the rest of my life. This is a picture in my head of how I will look at her years from now. She is starting to talk so well. Just yesterday as she went to get her friend Lupe from across the hall, she said, as clear as day, "Wait a minute, Daddy. I'll be right back."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Photo by Lance Cannon
GOING FOR IT� Christina Blandford sets up a "kill" against Kotzebue defense during last Friday's opening night high school volleyball game at the recreation center.

I made the Nome Nugget

Here is the article from the Nome Nugget.

Big time varsity high school volleyball underway in Nome
By Lance Cannon

Listen up: the Lady Nanooks volleyball squad is "sick and sweet." The Nanooks hit the floor Friday, October 7 rocking out to AC/DC, intensifying the hype for opening night high school volleyball at the recreation center. Folks who were not at the recreation center Friday night to witness the Nanooks down two in best of five competition 20-25 and 16-25, missed out.
A packed gym it was. Made of seasoned veterans and a bench that holds their own, the Nanooks in any game situation can take the best high school volleyball has to offer. Even though Kotzebue quickly jumped all over Nome taking the first two games and was up early in game three, the Nanooks didn't go down quite so fast.
Coached by Matthew Butcher, Nome pulled a comeback win in overtime in game three, 29-27. After a tough loss in game three, Kotzebue gathered themselves early in game four, up 9-2 with textbook sets, digs and kills which led to a time out for Nome.
After the time out, Nome fired right back at Kotzebue with solid defense, picture perfect set-ups and kills that sent an echo through out the gym, followed by cheers from student council seating that could easily be heard outside the recreation center. Feet were stomping and the kids were ripping the place apart with cheers that pumped up the girls and caught their attention. From time to time the girls would look into the stands with "O-my- god faces," admiring the fans in student seating as well as the parents who had some old-fashioned cheering of their own. Game four, 25-23 and game five, 16-14 ended in favor of the Nanooks.
The girls prevailed Friday night and into Saturday afternoon. The Nanooks won three out of five Saturday afternoon. Game one, 25-19; game four, 25-22 and game five, 15-8. The Lady Nanooks lost two close ones in game two and three, 20-25 and 24-26.
The Nanooks travel to Bethel October 14 - 15 to take on the Warriors.
Nome JV girls are relentless
By Lance Cannon
Nome JV girls volleyball teambegan their best of five series against Kotzebue, Friday October 7 at the Nome Recreation Center. Both teams fought back and forth with Nome ending on top in the first game, 25-23. The atmosphere was primed for some great volleyball action and lived up to the expectations.
All four matches were competitive and fun to watch. Lynn West and assistant coach Allie Rupprecht of Kotzebue did a fine job keeping their team focused on surpassing a hungry and talented Nome JV group, coached by Susan Rand.
Kotzebue was able to regroup after a loss in the first game and win the final three games of the evening 25-4, 25-11 and 25-12. This set up the Saturday afternoon games scheduled to begin at noon at the Recreation Center.
Saturday games began with a bang. Nome was on a mission early and almost opened up with a first game victory. A few tough breaks added to their loss as Kotzebue took the first match 26-24, and eventually held on to win the next two games 25-8, and 25-20.
The Nome JV girls are looking forward to their next opponent and will be prepared to bounce back. They're relentless, fun to watch and most important, they have a lot of heart and sportsmanship. Intense support came from the student body, the varsity squad and parents in the bleachers.
Up next for the JV girls is traveling to take on the Warriors from Bethel October 14 through 15.
Officials and scorekeepers were Angela Hansen, Francis Contreras, Kirstin Timbers, Joy Hewitt and Rahnia Parker.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Supergirl and her super sister.

I am posting this web page now as a reminder to myself to write about this topic. This one burns me up on the stupidity of both sides.


Here were my picks for Week Five of the NFL. I did these in that teacher's lounge in Bethel before the games started and kept them in my back pocket. I did pretty well this week.

Chicago vs Minnesota --WIN
Jacksonville vs Pittsburgh --LOSS
San Diego vs Oakland --WIN
New England vs Denver --WIN
Jets vs Buffalo --LOSS
Cincinnati vs Tennessee --WIN
Miami vs. Tampa Bay --WIN
Atlanta vs New Orleans --WIN
Washington vs Kansas City --WIN
Carolina vs Detroit --WIN
Giants vs Dallas --LOSS
Cleveland vs Baltimore --WIN
Houston vs Seattle --WIN
St Louis vs Indianapolis --Monday night game undecided yet.

So I am 10-3 this week before Monday night's game. I am now 44-29 or 66% on the season. I meant to write after last week's picks that Amy picked too and ended up with only one less win than me. That means either I don't know what I'm doing since she doesn't follow football or that any team really can win on any given day. I am watching the Monday night game right now between the Rams and the Colts. Colts are favored by two touchdowns before the game started. It is not the end of the first quarter and the Rams are romping 17-0 already. So lines and predictions don't mean anything if the ball doesn't bounce the right way.


I am looking at scores and we should have at least been second place.
My girls were definitely tired.

First two games versus Akiachak: (?) and 25-14.

Second two games versus Chevak: 25-11 and 25-9.

Third two games versus Kalskag: 25-11 and 25-22.

Fourth two games versus Bethel: 25-23, (close loss), and the tiebreaker
was lost 0-15.

Then we proceeded straight into the tournament because we were seeded
second. No break time.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A new James Bond has been chosen. It will be the first blond James Bond. One of my great guilty pleasures have always been James Bond movies.

Fwd: [Jrhigh] Jacob Ahwinona

This is an email we received from our assistant principal. She had one
of the Native Elders come to talk with the students who needed to stay
after school.<bold>


Nome Native Elder, Jacob Ahwinona, spoke with the group of students
who stayed after school with me today. I just wanted to share his
message with you.

He said,

Do what your parents tell you to do. Do what your teachers tell you
to do. Don't ignore education, don't fool around. You need an
education to get a job. If you don't have it, you're out. Education
is a must. If you don't have an education, you're out.

You have an opportunity now. All you have to do is your part.

Listen to your teachers. Don't talk back. It's a bad habit.

We care about your education. If you do what you're told, you never
go wrong in life. Don't just listen to your teachers, do what they

Life is a learning process. You're never too young or too old.
Everyday you learn something. Take life seriously.

Now, our young people get in trouble with alcohol and drugs. If
anybody offers you alcohol and drugs, say no. Nobody shoves it down
your throat. Even if you have to stand alone, you don't have to do
it. You can always say, no.

Put that in your mind. Someday, you'll stop to think, that one-eyed
old man, that's what he said.

Take education seriously. You can go to High School. You can go to
college. You can make something of yourself. All you have to do is
believe in yourself.

When anyone drops out of school, it hurts me, it bothers me. If you
believe in yourself and you know your limits, you can do it. You
might think it's a waste of time now. Later, you'll be sorry.

You've got to cooperate with your teachers. Don't talk back. Obey
your parents.

(P.S. Jacob's photograph is in the hall outside Holly's classroom.)


The Ride Home

Our plane managed to leave Bethel today. But what a series of events
that led to takeoff.

I actually didn't wake up until almost 8 am. I got a good night's
sleep. I made a quick phone call to Bering Air to check on the status
of the flight. We were waiting on the Bethel wrestlers to return so we
could take the same charter back. Everything was good to go for the
wrestlers to leave about 10 am.

I managed to get all the girls ready and in the lobby by 10:30 so we
could start loading up and leave for the airport. Let me tell you,
getting 17 high school girls to get ready all together is more of a
feat than it sounds as written here.

When we got to the airport, it started to crumble. Let me explain that
this is Bethel, Alaska. There is no information desk. Nobody was even
behind the counter at Alaska Airlines because they're only there when
flights leave, usually once or twice a day. There was no desk for
Bering Air to check in at. The only "workers" that seemed to be there
were from Era Aviation, another charter. We didn't know who to talk to,
line up with, check in with, or ask questions of. Talking to them was
like talking to the wall. At first, they had no knowledge of a flight
from Bering Air coming in today. This started to concern me so I called
Bering Air at the pay phone (which eats up an additional 30 minutes of
my calling card minutes because for some god-knows-why reason they tack
on a 30 unit surcharge for using a pay phone. I mean, wouldn't most
calling cards be used from a pay phone? But I digress...)

Bering Air said they took off at 10:30. It is about an hour and fifteen
minute flight. They would be arriving in 10 minutes. The people behind
the desk still had no knowledge of a flight.

"Nobody contacted us."

"Well, can't you contact them?"

"You could call them," they said.

"We just did and they said they are on the way."

"Well, nobody contacted us."

"Well, how do we find out anything concerning this?" we asked.

"We wait for them to contact us."

And of course, I then ask again, "Can't we call them?"

And of course, they answered, "You could call them."

I turned and walked away, mimicking talking to the wall in a fit of
anger like Basil Fawlty.

I then walked out to the edge of the runway and waited in the rain for
the plane to land. I saw them come in and land and was able to talk
straight to them. We loaded up the girls and away we went, without ever
actually checking in anywhere.

We are home now. Another week. We get to fly to Barrow this Friday, one
of two trips to Barrow this year. It's the northernmost point in the
United States of America. I once thought it was just an interesting
fact on a map, and now I will actually get to go there. I must dip my
hands in the Arctic Ocean. That would make it three oceans for me,
Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic. Three out of four. My adventure is
coming along nicely.

Heartbreaking Loss

The Nome Nanooks couldn't pull it out today. We still had two seeding
matches in the morning at 9 and 10 and then, because we lost two out of
three to hometown Bethel, we were seeded number two and had to play
immediately again at 11 o'clock. The girls were getting tired.

The great thing was that our junior varsity ended up beating all the
other junior varsities and got seeded number six out of six into the
bracket. If we had beaten Bethel, our varsity would have had to play
our junior varsity. Our junior varsity managed to take the middle game
and only lost two games to one. Not bad. This was definitely one of the
cases where one out of three ain't bad.

So varsity ended up 7-2 to start the tournament. We took care of Chevak
but the scores were a lot closer than they should have been. We went
into the third place game against Kelskag after only an hour break.
Again, the scores were a lot closer than we'd like. In fact, it seemed
we were beating ourselves more with hits into the net and balls that
went out that should have been hit over rather than trying to "place"
the ball into a certain area. We won the first game but let the second
game get away from us. We started to trail in the third game and then
never got it back. We were out of the tournament. Bethel ended up
beating Kelskag three games to two in a best-of-five.

Now comes the real heartbreaker. Our plane got fogged in. The Bethel
wrestling team is stuck in Nome and we are stuck in Bethel another
night. We were supposed to fly out about 6 or 7 but the fog and a bit
of ice kept us here. They will look again in the morning but Bering Air
is looking at the weather and the next window looks like about 4 pm.
Now I am hoping that we make it out tomorrow. I don't want to have to
do sub plans for Monday.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Nome Takes an Early Lead

The Nome Nanooks took an early undefeated lead in the seeding portion
of the tournament today at Bethel Regional High School.

We left the school today at high noon to catch our chartered flight
with Bering Air. The plane was a nineteen-seater with two propellers.
This was the first time I had ever flown in anything this small or with
a propeller. And they joked with me that this doesn't even qualify as a
small plane with the puddle jumpers and nine-seaters out there. I also
got to watch the flight out of the cockpit window, which was a new
experience for me. The doors between the cabin and cockpit were open so
I got to watch the instrumentation too. We did get up to 25,000 feet
because this plane was pressurized. Apparently some of the smaller
planes don't go that high because they aren't pressurized. I got to
watch the landing too and we seemed to come in slanted a bit due to the
wind. It was definitely a different experience.

So then we started playing volleyball. It is set up this weekend as a
sort of round robin tournament. This first night and the first two
games of Saturday morning help us accumulate a record to seed us into
the tournament bracket. We played two two-game matches tonight. First
against Akiachak and the second against Chevak. We won all four games.

The first match, the girls seemed to be short of their rhythm at first.
They soon got into the swing of things. I think the system, as we were
playing right in the next court as another game was going on, seemed to
bug them at first. They figured it out quickly and took both games.
Nome seemed to have height on its side.

The second match seemed to go even better. We got up quickly worked
well together. It seemed to me that the only time the opponents were
scoring was when we were making mistakes on our own court. Rally
scoring definitely changes the game. There is a point scored every
single play, regardless of who is serving. When our serves go out or
into the net, it is a point for the other team. Mistakes kill with
rally scoring.

Our JV won its four games too. They get to play Dillingham tomorrow. If
they split the two games, there will be a third game tiebreaker to 15
points. The best JV team actually gets seeded into the varsity bracket.

Tomorrow morning we play again at 9 and 10 am. This is only for seeding
purposes but we still want to do well. I heard that the Bethel varsity
beat Barrow last weekend and Barrow, being in our division, have been a
thorn in our side, or so I've heard. We travel to Barrow next weekend
so it will be interesting to get a preview for that. Then the
tournament will start at 1 pm with the championship at 3 pm. The
tournament will be best-of-three matches and the championship game will
be best-of-five. Hope to be in that championship.

So now I am spread out in a teacher's lounge on my aerobed. This
spending the night is an interesting aspect to away games.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Nome is in the upper right corner of the map. On Friday, volleyball travels to Bethel.

This week


The first wisps of snow floated to the ground in Nome today. Most of it barely stuck to the ground. It felt cold today, that kind of cold I remember from Chicago. I think the high temperature here today was only about 35 degrees.

Let’s see, NFL picks. I apparently either don’t know what I’m doing or Amy is a really good guesser. Amy picked the week too. Going into Monday’s game we were both tied at seven correct picks. I correctly picked Pittsburgh to beat San Diego on Monday, so I end up 8-6. That’s only one better than Amy at 7-7.

School is school. We are starting sentence diagramming and I do races with it. They race up to the board in teams and correctly diagram sentences. It is a great way to reinforce what they’re doing instead of boring worksheets.

Do you know the one thing that students say that really get my goat? The one thing that makes me lose my temper above anything else? “Whatever.” When students say, “Whatever” when you are trying to correct them, they have no idea how disrespectful it sounds. It’s a dismissal of what I as a teacher am saying that feels one step below if they told me to “Shut up.”

We get to go to Bethel, Alaska, on Friday. There will be many teams there including Bethel, and the villages of Aniak, Chevak, Kalskag, and Akiachak. Dillingham flaked out on us, but we are going to Dillingham in a few weeks. We are taking a charter flight on Bering Air on a nineteen-seater plane, all to ourselves. We actually have to tell the players that they need to wear onto the plane their winter gear, including hat, boots, gloves, and snow pants. We literally can’t let them on the plane without it. It’s in case we do crash because we would be out in the wilderness for hours before any type of rescue.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Nicholas Cage named his new son Kal-El, Superman's Kryptonian name. I can't...I can't fathom...I mean, I love Superman too but...Kal-El? I could see Clark...Amy would've killed me for even suggesting...I guess it helps that Cage being 41 and a big movie star is married to a 21-year-old who probably would do anything he asks to be kept in the dough...What the hell was he thinking?

Monday, October 10, 2005


We didn’t have the day off for Columbus Day today at our school. (Actually, it is kind of hard to think about Columbus with the strong Native population here.) We had an inservice day. These are those “teacher institute” days we used to love as kids. The kids had the day off but the teachers had to attend meetings. We got to listen to a workshop on RIT scores and Lexile numbers.

First of all, where do I begin? They are trying to boil down a student’s learning to one single number. It’s supposed to be an indication of where that individual student’s level of instruction is. That’s all fine and dandy but then it gives teachers an interesting dilemma. Now that I have all of these scores for individual students, what do I do with it? I can’t come up with 22 different lesson plans for third period—and that’s just one period out of the six that I teach. Where am I supposed to get the time for this?

You know where all these computerized numbers are going, don’t you? That’s right. Every single student will have an individual computer that will be linked to lessons that that student can do in successive order. They can get better from where they are individually. So we’re all going to be taught by robots.

The problem with this whole numbers thing is that students are either going to lose social classroom structure and the inherent competition that it is supposed to possess or sit in front of a computer screen all day. (Isaac Asimov wrote a short story on this very thing—two siblings have their own robot teachers in the house that they feed their homework to and listen to lectures. The older brother one day tells the younger sister about how school was in Grandpa’s time with a “real flesh and blood” teacher.)

Is that where this is going? Individualized education plans (IEPs) are already working toward this. Back in Bremerton, they decided not to do the plan for just those that needed help—they decided to do it for everyone. (Although it was just a check-off-the-box worksheet that didn’t really say shit, but that’s another story.)

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining. I want to know where students are. I want to meet needs. I just need help on how to accommodate this into my classroom. How do I teach a class and accommodate twenty-two separate learners based on these scores?

This doesn’t even start talking about how we meet the GLEs (Grade Level Expectations). How do I skew these scores that show me their actual instructional grade level with where they are supposed to be? If they are reading at a fourth grade level, how do I make them meet eighth grade level expectations? That’s the big question.

Some of these are questions that I cannot answer. I am just an individual teacher in one classroom. Some of these are questions that need to be answered at the district or even the state level.

My classroom is a challenging environment for most levels (depending on whether they want to be challenged or not, but that’s a whole other quagmire that I won’t get into today). That is all I can do today.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

NFL Week Five

My picks for NFL Week Five:

Baltimore vs Lions
Bears vs Browns
Dolphins vs Bills
Patriots vs Falcons
Saints vs Packers
Seahawks vs Rams
Bucs vs Jets
Titans vs Texans
Colts vs 49ers
Panthers vs Cardinals
Eagles vs Dallas
Redskins vs Broncos
Bengals vs Jaguars
Pittsburgh vs Chargers

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Kaniqsirugut News. This is a publication from the Norton Sound Health Corporation. The title is pronounced (kang-ik'-see-roo'-koot) and means "we understand in Inupiaq.

Nanooks win again!

Today the Nome Nanook Volleyball team remain undefeated as they beat the Kotzebue Huskies in an exciting five game match.

The starting six won the first game. A valiant effort in the second game by the second line fell just short. The third game was a heartbreaker, 26-24 loss. Nome came back to win the next two games including the pivotal fifth game that is only played to 15 points.

The Nome Nanooks hold steady at 2-0 on the season. This is already better than their 0-10 record last season. The girls are working well together.

I helped to get the visiting team back to their chartered flight on Bering Air. Last night, they actually camped out, with their aerobeds and sleeping bags, in my big, cavernous classroom. It was odd to see it completely covered with luggage and items. I had to ferry them in the blue van to the Rec Center downtown in three trips. The home team fed them Airport Pizza last night and got them snacks for the plane today, and they also got a Subway run before they left.

Next week, the Nanooks travel to Bethel for a non-conference match. We are taking the nineteen-seater plane so with two coaches that leaves me ten varsity (out of 12) to take and seven JV.

Nome wins!

In dramatic fashion, the Nome Nanook Volleyball Team won its home opener against Kotzebue tonight. Led by this week's Captain RieAnn Fullwood, the girls battled back from a two game deficit to beat the Kotzebue Huskies three games to two.

The coach attributes conditioning, communication, and plain old-fashioned hard work to get the job done. The first game was very close, and I really think it could have been won. Jitters may have been a factor. The second game had the second lineup and although they got behind early 13-2, they managed to bring that game also to a close score.

The third game brought back the starting rotation and a fresh start. Powerful spikes and blocks by Christina Blandford and Brianne Wassman led the charge. Chelsea Weiss and Rachel Pomeranz showed style and grace in achieving success. Nina Hanebuth seemed to be the ace in the hole on many occasions. Kelly Wongitillin has a new nickname from the coach as she came in to help on serving--the Sniper. The third game went into extra time and the Nanooks pulled it out in the end.

The girls got behind again in the fourth game, as the starters wanted to stay in after the exciting third game. They rallied to bring the score close again, keeping another heart attack of a win in their pocket.

The fifth game is only played to 15 points, not 25. The fifth game got off to a fast start as the girls wound up 7 points up. The other team was tired and the Nanooks knew it. Even though with rally scoring the Kotzebue team brought it close, Nome was clearly headed for a great win as they stuck together and helped each other. The last three games were fantastic displays of great attitude. The girls did not give up and it showed at the end.

This coach could not be happier. (Although winning by such a close score may give him an ulcer, it is fun to watch.) The girls stuck by each other and did this. They have had such a positive attitude during practice that they knew it would transfer to the real game. The girls realize that the conditioning they have been subjected to, at 6 am no less, has really paid off. The drills have been fun and productive and they see how it transfers to the court. They were winners before they ever stepped onto the court this year. Now they are true winners.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Game Day

I feel like James Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Jimmy Johnson should be analyzing our game today. You know, Volleyball on FOX.

I am excited. I honestly think we have a great team. I found out that last year Nome won ZERO games. They didn't win anything all year. So all I have to do is win one game and I look like a genius. I am shooting for more. I want to go to state, and we only have to be in the top two of three districts to go. We can do it. Tonight against Kotzebue, which is also in our district, is where we start to define ourselves.

I will be taking notes like a madman. I am going to let a lot happen on its own. I will analyze and then try to see what I can do for practices next week. I am anticipating a win though. The girls are energetic and happy and this will transfer to the game floor.

I have to come up with a pre-game pep talk...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Morgan and Madison in their hats (back in Port Orchard, Washington, 2005).

Nome vs Kotzebue pregame

We practiced at the Rec Center this morning. The AD and maintenance have jury-rigged the net system for this weekend. The Rec Center did agree to get floor mounts for the volleyball poles and those will be installed by our next home game on October 28, the Mixed 6 Tournament.

I think we are ready to play. I've been asking around and apparently last year was a bad year for the team. They didn't win any games and morale was really low. I have been concentrating on making it fun. Players will play. I apparently am against the grain in thinking that Junior Varsity and Varsity should only play the best players. No. Thank goodness my assistant coach, Susan, and I both have the same philosophy. It's about having fun and working hard. Players will play. I think it is important to know that after the starting six, the benchwarmers know that they will get to play and start the second game. It is great for morale. There is no fun to sitting on a bench. I do not want them to think that I have favorites because I don't. Junior Varsity is all about playing to get better for next year. Varsity is all about pride and knowing that you gave it your all. This is a team sport. I wouldn't have kept twelve girls if I were not going to play them.

The girls seem to be a little wary of my "keep it simple" approach. I have not drawn up any plays or switching. I believe that, since they rotate anyway, each girl is responsible for her one-sixth of the floor. It may prove this weekend that some players need to be back row versus front row, but you know what?--I want them to find that out in the first game. Plus, I don't want to take away a girl's favorite area of the court. I have two shorter girls who have this amazing jump shot thing where they hit the ball late on a spike, after the blockers have fallen down. They deserve front row too. And that's how you get better. Everybody can handle the individual situations and get better.

I also don't plan on doing a lot of substituting. Unless they need a breather or something, I believe that that particular team of six girls work better together because they get used to each other on the court. I don't sub out for bad plays either. I have seen mistakes happen but I have also seen the girl that makes a mistake come right back and make a super play to make up for it. That's the pride thing.

All in all, this is about fun, isn't it? I want these girls to come away from this season knowing that they had lots of time playing and that they gave it their best. If I can do that and keep it light and fun, then I will have done my job.

Napoleonic Wisdom II

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
--Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Whitman's role in democracy

Discuss Whitman’s views on the role of poetry in a democracy, his vision of America’s future (listing in what ways we have followed his advice and heeded his warnings), and his place as an American thinker. Supply your own estimate on the applicability of his views to today’s world.

Democracy was not just a dream to Whitman but a necessary course of action. When we express thoughts and revelations to each other, opening up, we share each other. Democracy to Whitman was the normal way the human race would evolve. “…the great question of democracy, as to every great question—I feel the parts harmoniously blended in my own realization and convictions, and present them to be read only in such oneness, each page and each claim and assertion modified and temper’d by the others. Bear in mind, too, that they are not the result of studying up in political economy, but of the ordinary sense, observing, wandering among men” (Democratic Vistas).

Early in his career, this vision was what humans in a democracy would do naturally. Love and admire one another, respecting the golden rule. It seemed to change as he got older, realizing that democracy would have to be worked at. Some people would have to be forced into it, especially as he watched Reconstruction fail and the body of President Lincoln travel by him. He says in the later part of Democratic Vistas, “America needs, and the world needs, a class of bards who will, now and ever, so link and tally the rational physical being of man, with the ensembles of time and space, and with this vast and multiform show, Nature, surrounding him, ever tantalizing him, equally a part, and yet not a part of him, as to essentially harmonize, satisfy, and put at rest. Faith, very old, now scared away by science, must be restored, brought back by the same power that caused her departure—restored with new sway, deeper, wider, higher than ever.”

Whitman held himself to this higher ideal. It is no wonder that he would stand between the master and the slave. It is no wonder that he would think the woman the equal of man (and maybe even a little greater for bearing child). It is no wonder that he felt a sexual revolution was in order.

This I think is the most trying aspect of Whitman that has not yet come to pass. Whitman wrote to combat these prejudices in our heads. The one danger and warning that has not yet come to pass is the understanding of homosexual relations. With his understanding of the immense closeness that sexual relations brings, he finds that this sharing of the self with someone of the same sex, which can bring no possible biological function like child bearing, is extreme closeness. The gay rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s touted almost unknown Whitman passages for these suggestions between adhesive and amative love. Could the greatest American poet have said these things?

Whitman believed in one simple thing, I have found. In order to truly be democratic, the country must allow all sorts of individual freedoms. Abolition happened. Women’s suffrage happened. To what degree can be argued. Gay rights will happen. Whitman’s pen talks us through understanding that “the work of the New World is not ended, but only fairly begun” (Democratic Vistas).

Madison striking a pose. She now likes to pretend she has a microphone and says, "Rock and roll!" She also says "Thank you" like Elvis.

Back in Bremerton. This is Madison at her grandfather's in Port Orchard, Washington.

Now here is one from here in Nome near the apartment building. Pets are only allowed on the first floor as they have not been renovated yet. We live on the second floor. This is Madison in the pink coat standing next to Morgan. The little dog is Tramp from downstairs, a little pooch whose back legs don't work too well anymore.

Back in Bremerton before we left for Nome.

Madison and Daddy acting silly.

My two little girls. Who wants to pose normally?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Madison with Mommy. She's so proud!

Madison chocolate funny face.

Madison with chocolate face.

Volleyball update

This weekend are our first volleyball games. Kotzebue flies in and we play two days in a row with them down at the Rec Center on Friday and Saturday. One great thing this year is that our conference, the Far North, has only three teams, Nome, Kotzebue, and Barrow. Somehow, there are two berths for going to State out of our conference. I may get to fly to Anchorage with the team too this year. We gotta be in the top two of three!

I hand out uniforms tomorrow morning. Then Thursday is the first practice with just the Varsity alone down at the Rec Center while the Junior Varsity is practicing at the elementary school.

We have been scrimmaging a lot lately at practice. I think my team has what it takes to be successful. This is going to be fun.

The Horns

One of the beliefs that I try to pass on is that you have to grab life by the horns and wrestle it down.

Life does not give anything away. If you want it, it's out there. It is only out there, though, if you are willing to fight for it.

Whenever students tell me that what we are learning is stupid (or the completely terrible slang term of "gay" now--kids say, "That's gay" meaning stupid), I try to explain that there is a method to the madness. I am frank with them in saying that some things are just an exercise in thinking. You can't tell me that even 1% of the students needs to know about factoring polynomials in math. You do it because it is an exercise in thinking and logic. You will never do sentence diagramming again outside of English class. I admit that. ...But you never know.

I impart that they don't know what they are going to do yet. They may do a million different things. They have to be ready for anything. Sometimes it is just learning for the exercise of learning. "You have to exercise your brain," I say, "just like a bicep."

I tried today to explain to a couple of classes, after a student or two talks about how they hate school and wish they didn't have to be there, that you may be happy working on a shovel for the rest of your life. But wouldn't you like the choice?

I can't download the information into their brains.

The Ganjee

For years, I was working on a race of aliens from outer space and their history and evolution. I found this document amidst my old files. The Ganjee originally appeared as an alien from nowhere when I needed a scary alien (a la the 1979 movie Alien) to attack a ship. This was when I was playing with action figures, and especially those M.U.S.C.L.E. men--anybody remember those? I again used the Ganjee when I wrote my book. 1987. I was a freshman in high school. I wrote 151 of my handwritten pages in a notebook. It was simply titled "Invasion" and was about the Ganjee invasion of earth. Harry Revenge was also in the book and he helped repel the attack.


Rigilantare System

The star called Rigilantare is a red supergiant located 17 light years outside of the Milky Way Galaxy. The pull of this star is so intense that it has seventeen planets circling it. This system is home to three prominent races. One race, the Ganjee, is said to be the most powerful race in the known universe.

PLANETS (In orbital order)
1. Closotho
2. Sardin'A
3. Treinta
4. N'Pernern--Throneworld and origin of the Ganjee
5. Attraf--Homeworld of the Scrave
6. Erjo--Homeworld of the Erjo
7. Rootin'A
8. Cirquin
9. Terwin
10. Nindana
11. Poccet
12. Mintar
13. Kussilu
14. Glassier
15. Cantonon
16. Tati
17. R'Gonon--Outer Ganjee post; home of the Infinity Guard


290-272 B.W. = Height of the Warrior class
271-265 B.W. = Scientists get accepted, perfect space travel (Use of the argument to conquer other worlds)
265 B.W. = First Ganjee spaceship launched with two live Ganjee
258 B.W. = Ganjee meet Erjo in space
252 B.W. = Beginning of Ganjee Erjo War
106 B.W. = End of war, Ganjee steal science secrets that enable them to travel to deep space
103 B.W. = R'Gonon established
102 B.W. = Ganjee leave system for first time
53-45 B.W. = Scraves conquer Closotho, Sardin'A, and Treinta
44-25 B.W. = Ganjee conquer rest of system (except Attraf, Closotho, Erjo, Sardin'A, Treinta)
War Year = Ganjee Civil War (restricted solely to N'Pernern)
1 A.W. = First Ganjee Superior established Twitillill
51 = Second Ganjee Erjo War
104 = Second Ganjee Superior established Sendallall
118 = End of War (Ganjee conquer Erjo). Beginning of Ganjee Scrave War
120 = End of War (Ganjee conquer all of Scrave Empire)
219 = Third Ganjee Superior established Slitabab
Ganjee conquer Trist System by this year
237-239 = Erjo uprising (Ends in almost complete extermination of the Erjo; only 31 left)
327 = Fourth Ganjee Superior established Blatratr
334 = Ganjee begin massive exploration; will result in their discovery of the Sol System
347 = Blatratr assassinated by a Scrave from Poccet, causes slight Ganjee Civil War II; Fifth Ganjee Superior established Qpepep; Poccet kept as severe military district
425 = Discovery of Sol System
426 = Discovery of Earth; observed for next 97 years
439 = Slight Scrave uprising, race exterminated
457 = Sixth Ganjee Superior established Pqutchutch
468 = Ktashash established as Supreme Head of Military (a new title)
509 = Premature invasion of Earth (one craft crashes on planet, Ganjee worried)
523 = Ganjee Invasion of Earth. Defeated by Battalion led by Harry Revenge (alternate timeline). Pqutchutch and one half million Ganjee killed. Ktashash survives on planet for five more years until killed by Battalion II


He walked through the hallway yawning. His rounds were as stupid as they were boring. Nobody could even get to this sector of the Galactic Station without exciting a highly royal war at the gates. He thought it ridiculous that he had to do this at all. His watch read 20:15, 28 Aug. 2214; only 45 minutes left. Then he could sleep off this boredom. But the clawed hand crashed through that idea as well as the wall.
The sentry tried to signal a warning or make noise somehow but it seemed impossible. The intruder took its gigantic hands and applied slight pressure at the the sentry's neck. The sentry gurgled with fear and pain. The intruder looked the sentry square in the eye as the last flicker of life leapt from the body. The intruder threw it across the hall in a heap, then left through the opening in the wall as quickly as it had come.

Harry Revenge loathed stopping at Galactic Stations. But MW Galactic Station 14 was the only one he even half liked. Mainly it was because of the people there, stationed at this remote outpost outside of Neptune's orbit. Who couldn't like Flash, the coolest Glissoid bartender, winner of Quickest Server in Nine Systems for the past five years? There were many more, especially under Controller titles, but Harry thought of his frequent Station 14 visits as another excuse to see Preemat Hyb, the Erjo doctor on board. He could sense something he had inside for her but he couldn't possibly let it show, not until he realized what it was.
Erjo people come from the planet Erjo in the Rigilantare System. They resembled Earthers down to every respect. Some scientists have made intense studies of the similarities in genetic makeup. The only difference was an Erjo's voice. They growled when they talked, kind of like how the Tiger Man from space in those cartoons had talked. They were the first sentient life discovered by Earth.
Harry walked down the corridor in a daze, thinking of his last encounter with Preemat. It would be tougher to leave this time. Just the, Sneezy, his Tatrol friend, bumped up against his leg. Harry had missed the turn into the medical sector.
Tatrols are born with the uncanny ability of photographic memories. They remembered absolutely everything. Tatrols, commonly called Trolls, come from the planet Tatron and resemble what people have nicknamed them: little green trolls from all those fairy tales you've read.
Carmichael wound his way into the medical section and to a glass door marked in three languages. The one Harry understood read: Preemat Hyb, Chief Medical Supervisor. He placed his hand on the doorknob and slowly turned it open.
Preemat was bent over her desk doing paperwork, oblivious to the fact that Harry had just entered. Harry snatched a rose from the vase next to the door and cleared his throat loudly.
Preemat looked up slowly but when her eyes keyed recognition of Harry's features, she rushed out of her chair. Her arms were about to enwrap Harry ferociously but then she froze. Harry saw this coming.
"Hiya, Preemat. I've missed you."
"Apparently!" screamed Preemat on the verge of tears. "You don't. . . "
"I'm sorry," Carmichael blurted.
Preemat whispered, "You didn't even say goodbye."
"I know, but that would have made it even harder for me."
"Well, um. . . " Preemat thought and took the rose from his hand. "I've got work to do. How's about we talk over dinner at the cafe tonight?"
"Sure, it's a date," responded Harry. He walked out of the room without a backward glance.
Sneezy, who waited patiently outside the door, looked in and waved at Preemat. She let a little smile go and waved back. Sneezy caught up with Harry.
They walked into the bar part of the cafe and sat on remote stools on the far end. The prism like Glissoid bartender ran over to them.
"Ut'll it be, Harry and his faithful companion, Sneezy?"
"Hey, Flash," Harry said. "Gimme a Coors and Sneezy's got a milk."
As the drinks were poured, and Flash swung them down the bar to Harry and Sneezy, the noise started. It was a big rumbling sound with no definite point of origin. Harry had heard this sound before, once. In the mines of Alzareus when he was with the Anti Drug Corps. It was the start of a B Bomb. The low rumbling would start to shake the chemicals inside it (something that started with a B), until the balance was disrupted and they blew in a very spectacular explosion.
"Everybody down!" screamed Harry as he fell to the floor on top of Sneezy. The explosion rocked the house.
Before the smoke cleared, sounds of an army were all over. As well as Harry could see, it was just the wall to the cargo bay that had blown open. And out of it were galloping some nasty looking cyborg henchmen.
The cyborg is a being half man and half machine. If the head or brain remains, it's impossible to finally dispose of it. They can almost go down to a single core molecule and be reconstructed. Cyborgs, illegal to manufacture in the nine systems, are highly dangerous.
Harry whipped out his pistol and fired a few lasers in the direction of the opening. The air around him began to explode with fire. The cyborgs were using exploding shells.
Sneezy grabbed Harry's hand and yanked hard. Trolls can be strong when necessary. He shoved Harry down a heating duct and followed him in. "No time for heroics!" Sneezy yelled.
After ten minutes, the combat stopped as quickly as it had started. It was then that Harry remembered Preemat. He tried to shove open the grate and get out. Sneezy held him tight.
"You wanna get killed?" the troll said.
Harry pulled himself free from Sneezy's grasp. He rocketed into a fighting position, with pistol in each hand. Then he saw it.
Through all the smoke, the gigantic silhouette was unmistakable. These things were supposedly extinct, especially after the Ganjee War Patrol pushed their efforts to destroy the planet N'Pernern where these vile creatures come from.
The most terrible, ferocious creature to inhabit the nine systems.
Its body was huge, a full seven and a half feet tall with bulk to more than match. It was hunchbacked but the shoulders were so big as to make it appear that the creature had three heads. Its arms were long enough to reach its knees at standing. Its kangaroo type legs gave the Ganjee mobility for its mass. The face was even more horrific, looking down upon its gorilla haired body. When it looked up, its face was that of a neanderthal man with a slight but unmistakably present glimpse of a human resemblance. Its hands were big enough to wrap around two footballs completely. Its weapon could only be described as a cannon. It was an XR 17.4 tripod launcher, which fired off such various implements as exploding bullets and on impact grenades. It took three normal men to pick it up, but the Ganjee held it high in one hand.
It sniffed the air and noticed Harry's presence. Harry let off six quick shots from his blaster pistol, dead in the chest. He watched in horror as the shots collided into its breast. . . and bounced off.
"Holy shit!" Harry bellowed. "It's got some kind of armor plating!"

Story notes:

Good guys
Harry Carmichael
Rich Skulley
The Fox (Cyborg)
Kamal Reeis (Erjo)
Jack Hewson (Black)
Dunky (called "Dummy")
Harry's 3 M: dwarf sized "Bingo"
Kamal's 3 M: Raccoon "Trezb"

Station Workers
Glissoid bartender: Flash
Erjo Doc Female Preemat Hyb
Jack Mendota
Lou Taxis
Sherman Gerald
April Rolin (Female)
Cyborg Servicers
The Treeman (extendable limbs)
The Turtle (Heavy Armor)
Beetl Staiz Erjo, head controller
The Bat (ears) Cyborg technical controller
Minor Controllers
Daisy Brothers (Female)
Mike Gasin
Covet Myna (Erjo)
Woint Myna (Erjo)
Matb Tiyren (Erjo)
class 4 'bots Vivian and Madelyne

Ganjee's troops
Riffle (Cyborg)
The Lantern (Cyborg with Dazzler type light powers)
Qjernern (Cyborg with Ganjee looks)
Ftollall (Cyborg with Ganjee looks)

Tatrols (Trolls for short)
Glissoids (Prism like men that work in mines and other heavy labor
Erjo (Human like but with a growling undertone to their voices from
planet Erjo, Rigilantare System)

Year 2216

Class 4 oldest, mainly waiters and guides
Class 3 M personal 'bots, shaped how you'd like them
Class D Military
Class 60 entertainment
Cyborgs military and actual customers


NOUNS end with same sound twice, like in in kinin
VERBS all end with vowel sound
PREPOSITIONS almost all are just a single vowel, only difference is in a slight pronunciation change

Kasa die (kasan kill)
kinin human
di I, me
rev will
fot not
kanda speak
a, e, i, o, u "prepositions"
ki you
rsal stinking
sait then
growwe capture, get
t the
treis three


The 7th Doctor & Ace are hovering above ATTRAF in the Rigilantare System. Ace talks about system and Ganjee (Dr. kids "Hope we don't rum into any of them.") They dematerialize on an airstrip platform some miles above the surface in hopes of getting a part for the TARDIS that Gallifrey doesn't make anymore. {A crew member is mysteriously murdered by a weapon not of this planet, before death he sees a hairy hand.} Of course, Dr. gets blamed for it.
It appears that this one Ganjee is a scout for an invasion force. After Dr. is allowed to examine the body, he realizes it was a Ganjee. Says he first encountered one in his third regeneration. They were spread across the universe long ago. "Some have said that one Ganjee is more deadly than a small Dalek invasion force."
During the Dr.'s incarceration, the Ganjee gets a message from his superior saying "kill the Dr." with picture.
Back in the jail cell, the Dr. & Ace escape, out the front door but end up hurrying back in because the Ganjee are coming full force. Dr. kills Ganjee eventually.


The entire Milky Way Galaxy is collapsing into one big black hole. Exactly in the center lies a gigantic star which is burning itself out and turning into a black hole. The humans and Ganjee only have one way of stopping it, by displacing time waves on it that make it turn into a small young star once more ("past waves"). But that means that the Ganjee homeworld would be destroyed, shrunk into nothingness. Are the Ganjee willing enough to sacrifice their homeworld when the humans won't lose anything but a supply base in the same system? Or will the Ganjee ride the storm out?

Earth relations president:William Clark
Ganjee homeworld Superior:Twillill

Star exhausts supplies of hydrogen and then balloons outward, becoming a red supergiant, and ultimately explodes a supernova. It then collapses into itself. (Lesser massed stars become neutron stars). Most massive stars collapse into gravity wells so intense that not even light can escape.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Auteur Theory

Auteur Theory

Auteur theory is simply "author." Behind every film is a man or woman at work with a vision. Depending on the auteur of a movie, a different movie could result. Not all people responsible for a movie are auteurs-no one would consider Ed Wood an auteur-most B movies and some listed as A movies only get cranked out halfheartedly for the money (think Speed 2). A person who puts his indelible mark on a movie that the audience knows is that person. Some movies are labeled as Hitchcockian for their suspense and the plight of the normal man thrust into extraordinary situations. This brings us to identifying the auteur. How does one know it is a Hitchcock movie without reading the credits? The auteur is established by analyzing the themes and structure of a film. That is how some movies have been called "Hitchcockian in suspense." Since Hitchcock did the majority of defining good suspense, he has been nicknamed the "master of suspense." So too with Hawks and his themes of manly danger being fun. It is how the film comes together, like the novel of an author, or a painting by an artist, the director leaves his mark. In totality, then, most auteurs can only be realized while examining more of the auteur's work. One film is hardly enough to undertake trying to figure out who the director is. After watching several movies by the same director, patterns start to emerge. The auteur has the final controlling power or personality of a film. These powers even overshadow other hands on the project. I love Joseph Cotten and his talent, yet he has been overshadowed by two auteurs, Welles in Citizen Kane and Hitchcock in Shadow of a Doubt. Those will always be Welles and Hitchcock movies which just happened to star Joseph Cotten. The actor, great or not, becomes another cog in the director's perfect little machine. Conversely, actors such as Denzel Washington in Training Day or Jamie Foxx in Ray overshadow any other aspect of the production, even the director. There are new directors which personify the complete controlling power, like Peter Jackson of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He handled screenplay, directing, casting, storyboarding, post-production, and every single shot. Everyone involved went to him for final approval. Even Jackson would agree that the text was only a catalyst that he played with to make the movie, with him cutting some scenes and even giving dialogue attributed to one character in the text to another in the movie.
Gregg Toland had been nominated several times for a cinematography Oscar and won with Wuthering Heights. He pioneered the use of deep focus, which Welles was able to utilize to great effect in Citizen Kane, drowning out the main characters by the size of the mansion around them, belittling the characters. Also, this allowed to show Kane and his wife in a room with him close up and big and her small and little, still being in focus and allowing us to see how Kane thought of himself in the presence of others, larger than life. Toland actually shared the same page of the credits with Welles, showing that they worked together for mutual effect.

Morgan and Madison. This is our front door. This was taken on Morgan's first day of fifth grade.

Madison in that alpaca hat.

The other side of Anvil Mountain.

The other side of Anvil Mountain is amazing.

Fwd: Serenity 09.30.05

From the Browncoats:

Hey Browncoats,

We have just a few more days to go! Serenity will be
in theaters this Friday, September 30! Today, Joss
posted this message for all Browncoats on the message

Well boys and girls and boys dressed as girls and
girls dressed as Kaylee, the time is almost upon us.
This Friday we take that old rust-bucket out of the
shipyard and see if she can breach atmo. It's been a
long (to paraphrase a band I like) strange trip, and
it'll be nice finally to show everybody what it is
we've been tinkering with all this time. You already
know you have my thanks, from the hardcore fans to the
softcore... fans.... let me try that again. From the
people manning the booths, buying DVD sets for their
friends, getting banners seen everywhere on Australian
TV, raffling artwork for ticketholders (Adam Hughes,
take a bow), to the most casual fan who just wants to
see the flick and won't ever even read this. You guys
are the fuel in the engine, the Fire in the Fly, the
weird green stuff coming out of Serenity's butt.
(Hmmm. Forget that last one. I'm a little bit out of
control here.)

Everyone needs something to keep them going. Mal has
his ship. Zoe has her integrity. Jayne has Vera. And
I've got you guys.

So what now? There have been so many posts about
seeing it, seeing it again, the first weekend, the
second weekend, being enthusiastic without being
obnoxious (and yes, it IS hard to see over the pom-pom
of a Jayne hat), buying tickets in advance, making a
noise... I honestly wouldn't know what to add. I can
tell you this: the movie will play in about 2200
hundred theaters, which is a good number. Too many,
and you get empty theaters with no energy -- not
enough, and you get, well, not enough. It may be hard
to find in some areas but it'll be out there. Leave no
multiplex unturned! This is going to be a ground war,
peeps -- we have to hold the valley for a long while.
However it opens, it needs to HOLD. Instead of the
Alliance we'll be fighting viewer apathy, fear of
something new, the urge to wait for DVD, and Jessica
Alba in a bikini. (Although I have it on good
authority that she spends 90% of the film in a huge
wooly parka. Make sure that gets out.)

The day this puppy opens, I'll be seeing it with my
family (don't worry, there's a lot of them, and
they're all paying) and then I'm off to Europe to
learn the word 'Browncoats' in nine different
languages -- 'cause like I said, it's all about
holding. I'll never be far from a computer, though, so
I can check in with y'all. Thanks for every damn

And remember, amidst all the urgency to make this an
event, all the work and the worry, to take two hours
and just enjoy yourself. That is, after all, what all
this fighting's about.


You can read his post at

We also have lots of other Browncoat news:

If you haven't been to The Browncoats in a while you
should know that the store has been stocked with all
types of shiny Serenity-themed items. You can redeem
all those credits you have been working so hard for!

In order to help you organize your Opening Day
Shindigs, we have created a specialized Serenity
Evite! Click here to get it and invite all your
friends to your Shindigs to celebrate the opening of
the BDM!

The Serenity Renegade mobile game is now available.
You can download it to your phone at

And finally, help promote Serenity! On the Browncoats
site we have a flyer and an iron-on you can print out
and use to help to get the word out about Serenity!

So come join us as we count down the final days to the
release of Serenity at The Browncoats!

Keep Flyin'!


They are STILL talking about this! Peter David, one of my favorite writers ever, and Erik Larsen of Savage Dragon fame (Image comics), are still throwing punches at writers and artists working for the big two, Marvel and DC, as opposed to creating their own stuff. The main meat of this argument is that Erik Larsen has said that he and the Image people were "holding back" because the stuff that they were doing wasn't owned by them. I'm sure they were still well supported monetarily. The funny thing is that I don't see the history backing up Larsen's claim. Image comics are now in the two for a dollar bin whereas Marvel and DC stuff, some written by Peter David, is still being re-published in trade paperbacks to support demand. Is Larsen still "holding back?" If not, where was all this great work that we should have heard about? Erik Larsen, I think you owe me money back for those few issues of Savage Dragon that I did buy way back in 1993.