Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Morgan and Madison with their Snowman.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

James Butcher 1931-2006

My grandfather died this morning. He had a heart attack on Friday and was apparently having chest pains as early as Wednesday. He had just turned 75 in January.

Dad took a flight out to see him. He was already going to see his family in England in March so he just moved up the fare. I feel for him because he was looking forward to seeing a Blackpool football match with his dad again. (Go 'Pool!)

I never got to know him as well as I should have. I feel terrible about that right now. He lived in England. I lived in America. I think I actually saw him only about a dozen times. The last time I got to see him was at my sister Sarah's wedding.

He was my granddad. You never met a nicer man your whole life. If I am half the man he was, then I am lucky.

You are supposed to really be able to control the true powers of Superman with this game.

Metallo from the upcoming video game for Superman Returns.

EA is releasing a new video game to coincide with the release of the new Superman movie coming out this summer. All I have to say of these game screenshots, pictures of a pitched fight between Superman and the villain named Metallo, the robot with the heart of Kryptonite, is...Wow. Looks great.

You have to love film rumors. We geeks will rumor about movies and their sequels years in advance. They are already talking about the Superman Returns sequel and we still have about 125 days until Superman Returns comes out! They are looking at Bryan Singer to direct the sequel, due to be released in 2009. Bryan Singer may direct the re-make of Logan's Run (another re-make for the world!) and then film Superman Returns. It may be in Vancouver, British Columbia, this time and not Australia. Everything seems to be filmed in Vancouver over the past decade.

Friday, February 24, 2006

This is a closer picture of our 7th and 8th grade.

Our school cheers pretty well when duty calls.

These are our cheerleaders starting us off during the pep assembly. For some reason, they did not wear their cheer outfits.

Inside the new gym, this is pretty much a picture of the entire school, 7-12. That's our principal, Mr. Carter on the left.

Even though it was terrible out and the Barrow games ended up being cancelled for this weekend, we still had our pep assembly! We have to walk outside right now to get to the gym. I don't know how well you can make it out, but on the right hand side of the picture is the cafeteria and tunnel that is under construction that will enable one to walk to the gym without going outside. On the left and straight ahead is our gym. You may be able to make out the Mighty Nanook drawing on the wall in the center of the picture.

Inside our building are a ton of native pictures. Many actual elder photographs are on the wall. These are three paintings that are right next to the main office that showcase native singing and dancing.

On my way to work. I walk because it is close enough. It is still cold though with blowing snow and a wind chill of -20!

That's snow, man. The wind carves it into interesting patterns on the ground.

Walking to work this morning at about 7:40 am, I thought I'd catch a picture of the new blizzard that is upon us. We are supposed to get 5 to 8 inches tonight. The Barrow basketball teams weren't able to make it here today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Took some pictures of some of my students today. This is Rachelle.

This is Valerie.

We have a stuffed polar bear in the common area of the school. Isn't that sweet? We are the nanooks after all, which is a native word for polar bear.

The boys jump on the computers as quickly as they can.

This is my sixth period class. They did a great job on their Shakespeare speeches today.

More wind and snow today. This is our apartment complex as I am standing in the back door of the school. Now that is the perfect commute.

She sure loves her ballerina outfit. It is so much fun to see her dance.

The snowman even dwarfs her creator.

Morgan, up close and personal.

No, this face wouldn't pull a fire alarm, would it?

Here is Madison next to the huge snowman that Morgan built.

Did you know that Madison pulled the fire alarm yesterday, causing everybody to panic?

When Amy got home from Fairbanks, Madison got a little surprise: a ballerina costume! She loves playing dress up. I don't think she has taken it off since yesterday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

God, I'm ugly.


When you look for a new series and actually find one worth reading, it is worth shouting about.

Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley have put out one hell of a new series. It's from Image Comics of all places and it is called Invincible.

I just got done reading the first ten issues and am thoroughly addicted. It's about this kid, whose father is the Superman-like character known as Omni-Man, who just gets his powers. It is sort of like that premise with the movie Sky High.

Instantly, these creators made these characters thoroughly likeable and human. If there really were superheroes with these powers and abilities, this would be what they really did. The kid is a mini-Superman and gives himself the name Invincible. He is brash and feels like early Peter Parker. Omni-Man makes being trapped in a different dimension for months somehow run-of-the-mill office work.

This is fantastic stuff. And with the twists and turns of issues 7-10, it is also good, suspenseful fiction. I can't remember the last time I was so excited to get into the next issue of a comic.

Monday, February 20, 2006

North Slope of Alaska

RedOrbit.com puts out all sorts of pictures of pace and Earth images. I found this one interesting of the North Slope of Alaska. I have been to Barrow twice now so I feel closer to the area. I think the following article helps to explain the differences between ice floes and what actually happens in a frozen ocean.

Along the northern Arctic shores of Alaska, ice, snow, and cold dominate the landscape, even on a sunny day in June. This false-color satellite image shows electric blue ice and snow, the green vegetation of the hardy plants and mosses of the tundra, the deep blue of flowing rivers and open ocean, and pink-hued outcrops of bare, rocky ground.
The tundra runs the length of northern Alaska and is known as the North Slope. Only a surface "active layer" of the tundra thaws each season; most of the soil is permanently frozen year-round. On top of this permafrost, water flows to sea via shallow, braided streams or settles into pools and ponds. Along the bottom of the image the rugged terrain of the Brooks Range Mountains is snow-covered in places (blue areas) and exposed (pink areas) in others.
The sea hadn't surrendered to approaching summer. Along the coast, fast ice still clings to the shore in a solid, frozen sheet. At the top of the scene is the drifting sea ice. A dark blue strip of open water, known as a flaw lead, separates the fast ice from the drifting sea ice. Because the drift ice wanders freely with the wind and sea currents, it shatters into pieces that become rounded from the constant jostling.

Cool Guy Kurt Busiek

This is pretty cool.

While I was in the message boards at Comicon.com, I came across an entry by comic author Kurt Busiek (author of Red Tornado, Astro City). A lot of comics professionals come to the site every once in a while. Peter David (author of Hulk, Spider-Man, numerous Star Trek novels) actually responded to one of my posts not too long ago. Feel like I am rubbing elbows with some personal heroes.

So I wrote to Kurt Busiek. I had just read his 1984 series Red Tornado from DC Comics in the stack of comics I ordered through Mile High at the turn of the year. I thought I would just let him know that I really enjoyed it, even after all this time, that it still holds up.

He wrote me back. Not much, but recognition anyway. He sent me a link to a comic book series called Astro City that he has done. I had never heard of it before but I read the link, a 3 MB 15 page PDF file of a comic in the series. It was great. Very reminiscent of old EC Comics.

Just cool to have a guy respond to a reader. That shows character. So buy his stuff 'cause he is a cool guy.

(and for my own records, here are the emails all together:)

Hi there. I got your email off Comicon.com. I am a fan. I finally got to read your Red Tornado series from 1984. I ordered a bunch of old comics from Mile High Comics. I just wanted to say that I loved it. It was a great little mini-series. I was really surprised by how much I liked it. I know it was a long time ago, but I just wanted to let you know that it still holds up.

Matt Butcher

Thanks! Glad you liked it.


Read an ASTRO CITY story for FREE, at: http://www.dccomics.com/features/astro/

Hey that link you sent me for Astro City--that was fantastic. Like one of the old EC comics. Wow. Why have I never heard of this series? I am going to look for it now.

Great work!

Glad you liked it -- it's my main claim to fame, over the years. There are five trade paperback collections of it so far, and more on the way...!



Two days of this. Two days.

I am not against teacher inservice days but I do wish they were used wisely. This is an opportunity to really show us teachers all of these teaching techniques that really work. But they simply lecture. Show us! Inspire us! Mold us and shape us into these fantastic teachers that you keep asking us to be. These two days could really be presented to show us some fantatic teaching strategies. And you lecture to us.

It's not just here. They did the same exact thing at Bremerton. And the same exact thing at South Kitsap.

Inspire us. An hour on Inhalant Abuse Prevention where we just read Power Point slides? Stats, stats, stats. Tell us what to do about it.

My name should have been Matt Bitcher.

But I want to be inspired. I really do. I just can't come up with all of this stuff on my own.

Like the SmartBoard training. I really would like to use it and learn more about it. But I know there will only be one at the elementary school and one at the high school. I'll never get to use it consistently. I can't even sign up for the computer lab half the time!

Show me how to incorporate one hell of a lesson using the SmartBoard to teach a lesson about Inhalant Abuse. That would be awesome. Get me to do something just like you would have me get the students to do something. It was right there. Right there.

Lunch is almost up. I have to go back.


I am a real geek. I just preordered Artoo Potatoo and Spud Trooper from Entertainment Earth.

Look at 'em. They're adorable. I received Darth Tater for Christmas and when I saw these available in the next few months, I have to keep up the collection. Madison loves playing with Darth Tater, even though she likes sticking the tongue in the top of the head.

Yeah, I could say that I have an ulterior motive with a two-year-old (almost three!) at home to play with them, but I won't. These are as much for me as Madison.

I love toys.

Okay, I don't get it.
I finally got to read this three-issue limited series from DC's Vertigo Comics label. It is written by fan-favorite (and one of my favorites) Grant Morrison. All right, everything sounds fine. That's a good beginning. DC. Vertigo. Morrison. Guaranteed a good time.
Except I don't know what I just read. I don't get the point.
It was interesting. It was very well drawn by Cameron Stewart. It was a bit surreal. Seaguy's partner was some floating fish called Chubby the Choona. Weird, but doable. Hey, this is comics after all.
At first, I thought we were going to have a good little futuristic plot to uncover the secrets behind the foodstuff known as XOO. (I was pronouncing it "ZOO," and I hope that was right.) That is what that little pink critter is on the cover. The story is set in the time period where superheroes are no longer needed. The first issue may have led to good things.
But the second two issues led us on some kind of quest that does not deliver a final point. I hope someone out there can give me a final point, message, or theme to the whole thing. I soon will hold a Masters degree in English literature and I have no idea.
Grant Morrison missed with this one. However, this is only one miss out of a long line of hits.

1898 Eighth Grade Final Examination

1898 Eighth Grade Final Examination

Quite amazing to me. So much for SAT’s after 12 years of schooling in advanced classes. This is what it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895.

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas, USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph.
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of"lie,""play," and "run."
5. Define case; Illustrate each case.
6 . What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication.
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals.
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.'
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8 . Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Amy had to go to Fairbanks for a couple of days for work. It's only two sleeps but we already miss her. She had to fly on her first smaller plane by Frontier Air. We dropped her off tonight at 7 for her 7:30 flight. It was rather busy there.They cancelled the little flights to Teller and Brevig Mission. Amy has to make one little stop in a small community called Ruby and then on to Fairbanks. WIth this trip, this family has been pretty much all over the state now, except for the state capital of Juneau.

Morgan and her friend made a huge snowman yesterday.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Even I got a new toy. I got this Anti-Amazo Superman figure. Madison loves watching the old Fleischer Superman cartoons from the 40s with me.

Madison is playing with her new toys, some plastic dogs that came in a tube.

These pictures don't really do justice to the wind whipping around.

Here's a car parked by the building as a wind gust really picks up. I almost got knocked over coming around the corner there.

Had a bit of a blizzard again today. Gusts up to 50 mph. Amy actually had us go out in this out to the store.

Masters of the Universe and the Siege of Avion

Siege of Avion

In this exciting mini-comic, we got all the product placement we could ever want as kids!

Avion, the home of the Bird People led by Stratos (who we find out has a human wife), is attacked by some cave-dweller people known as the Ilkorts. Fine and dandy. We got to see He-Man and Battle Cat, Teela and Man-At-Arms, and of course, Stratos. We got to see He-Man shout, “Teela, to the Talon Fighter!” That was another one of the fancy vehicles they tried to get us to buy. I don’t think I ever had that one.

Skeletor has apparently set up this attack in order to get this Emerald Staff of Avion. The attack was just enough of a distraction. Skeletor wants to use it to call a demon called Haramesh in to destroy Castle Grayskull. (What the peaceful Bird People are doing with a staff that conjures demons though is beyond me.) We also get to see Snake Mountain, which was also a playset but was the home of the bad guys.

Stratos swoops down to retrieve the staff right out of Skeletor’s hands and He-Man uses it to banish the demon away. Kind of a simplistic ending, but it did its job. It got me to play He-Man and come up with my own adventures.

This was a good little mini-comic. It helps to establish the universe that the figures are set in and gives plenty of adventure. Just trying to duplicate the story would take a lot of fun playing time. Coming up with improvements and then coming up with your own adventures, which I did ad infinitum, was an integral part of my growing up.

This mini-comic was downloaded free of charge at Good Old Days.

Eskimo Heritage Reader part 12

Fish River Wars

“AWHHHHHHHH! AWHHHHHHHH! AWHHHHHHHH!” They say that before the wars, the seagulls in the Fish River never used to do that. But after they feasted on the bodies of the dead, they began to cry like that. They had a new cry because they had eaten human flesh.
According to my father, there were three main invasions on the Fish River. The last war was around my father’s time. My dad was about 14, 15 years old at that time.
So there was warfare even on Eskimo land. Eskimos and Indians made war all the time. Sometimes they fought for land or for women. Often they fought for vengeance, just to keep the wars going.
After a war, the survivors would return to their village. Then there came a time of few berries. Finally, after many years, the village would grow again. Then when they had multiplied and raised up an army, they would go to war again.
If a young boy had somehow escaped, he would talk for years about the people who had killed his parents. For a long time, it was just talk, but that was the only way they thought about that other village. Always they thought of revenge. For many years, they worked to build up their war selves. They went to the mountains near the Fish River to gather flint for their spears and arrows. I’ve heard that flint was pink and very hard. This happened before my father’s time.
My great-grandfather, Miyuruqtuq, died in those wars. He was about 20 years old, in the prime of life. His son, my father’s uncle, was a little baby at the time. His name was Pikshuk. He was given dried salmon eggs to chew on. He remembers a whole bunch of kids in the house chewing on this kuzgi. He didn’t know there was a war at the time. When he grew up, he learned why the children were given dry fish eggs to chew on. It was to keep them quiet.

By Job Kokochuruk of White Mountain

Old Justice League Comics

It is interesting to re-read the old Justice League comics that came right after the Crisis in 1985. In light of the villain that has apparently been Maxwell Lord, seeing him in these beginning comics is kind of creepy.

Maxwell Lord is just a plain old human, or so he thought (or led us to believe). He was called a “billionaire industrialist” many times in the comic series.

He helped start the new Justice League and get it its “International” standing. Now the Justice League was like the superhero police force of the countries of the world. He helped start the team by instigating the first little predicament in the United Nations: he hired a handful of terrorists to seize the UN and then have his people come in and save the day. He didn’t tell the terrorists that he didn’t give them the trigger to the bomb.

Then he also set up the little fracas that had Booster Gold prove his worth to the team by defeating the Royal Flush Gang on his own.

By issue #12, the League should have seen more of the impending coming of the villain Maxwell Lord. He had even planned the murder of his boss in his previous company just to seize power. Even though it didn’t quite happen the way he wanted, a real accident while spelunking and not a murder, he seized power and led the company. His building is filled with protective devices. He seems ready for war already.

The Metagene Bomb, or whatever it was exactly called, that went off during the Invasion crossover series and three-issue event in the late 90s was intended by the aliens to eradicate the superpowers of everyone on earth. The groups of aliens that got together were afraid of all the super powers on earth and wanted to extinguish them. It only affected super powers. So why did Maxwell Lord become affected?

It ends up that Maxwell Lord is a metahuman. His power is to influence. He can “nudge” somebody psychically. If he wants the remote control, he can “push” you to get up and get it for him. If he wants a company to sign a really bad contract for them, he can push it into his favor. He’ll make you turn right when you wanted to turn left. He’ll make it seem like it’s all your idea. Maybe he didn’t realize that he had this power, even though he gets a nosebleed whenever he uses it (I have to see when these nosebleeds started—it might be a retcon), he has always used the power, at least in the business world.

Then he started using it for really evil purposes. Somehow, he has figured that the metahumans would be the death of all the regular humans, sort of like humans versus mutants in the Marvel titles. He makes a case in that the metahumans are like gods among men, and anything in their wake gets destroyed.

For years, and I hope DC really goes into detail on this, he has been “nudging” Superman and getting him ready for complete will domination. This is Batman’s worst nightmare, and even if the JLA hated him for creating countermeasures in case this kind of thing ever happened, you can see that his fears are justified. In the middle of the mini-series called The OMAC Project, which was also interrupted by the four-part Sacrifice storyline that ran through the Superman and Wonder Woman titles, Maxwell Lord has made this final takeover of Superman’s will. Maxwell Lord has stolen Batman’s satellite overseer technology and perverted it into a metahuman killing machine. The superheroes are getting close to the culprit. Max plays his final card and “nudges” Superman to fight Wonder Woman with no quarter given. One hell of a fight ensues between two of DC’s most powerful characters. Wonder Woman ropes Lord with her lasso of truth and asks how to get Superman out of the trance. Lord answers the truth and only the truth, “Kill me.” She does so by snapping his neck. It was videotaped and broadcast to a world that is no in dire fear of the metahumans. Wonder Woman seems to have crossed that line that protected humans: no killing.

To see how far the evil went is amazing when you back track it through the Justice League comics. There are tidbits there. One of the writers at DC had said while they didn’t think Lord was a villain, “never once did I trust him.”

Highly Qualified

Alaska calls teachers that are certified in their exact subject matter "highly qualified." Mostly, if you have a degree in your subject you are, or you have to take a specialized test. I just got my official recognition from district office:

Subject: Highly Qualified Status

Congratulations! We have processed your verification for Highly Qualified status. Our district representative Stan Lujan has signed it, you will receive a copy, with the original placed in your file. If you should have any questions, please call.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eskimo Heritage Reader part 11

The Omalik Mine

In the old days, people traveled into the mountains to hunt caribou. They would drive them to Inuguk and the lake there. As the caribou swam ashore, the hunters would spear them. Or they chased them with a kayak on the lake. This was a traditional butchering place.
Once my great-grandfather, Tugua, was driving the caribou down to the valley. He saw rocks shining on the ground in the mountains. The rocks were very heavy, so they called the place Omalik, which means “heavy.” Later, they learned they could make bullets out of these heavy rocks.
One summer, when they went to Golovin, a ship was there. They showed the rock to the captain. He wanted to know where it came from. The natives did not know any better so they showed him. They brought the captain and some others to Omalik. The white men staked a claim there and later patented it. That’s where the first gold and silver were mined on the Seward Peninsula.
They hired the Eskimos as workers in the mine. They hired their boats, too, for three seasons. My grandpa, John Ahwinona, was hired as a driller in the shaft. Each man was paid one fifty pound sack of flour for a season’s work. For clothing, they were given only gunny sacks. While they almost starved, they were hauling all this silver and gold ore to the ship.
The two brothers who took the Captain to Omalik went to the owners. They asked for food for the men and their hungry families. Instead of flour, they asked for pay. But the mine owners took those two men and shot them in front of their wives and children.
After they had done this, they shut down the mine and returned to their ship. The miners knew they killed two tribal leaders. They hurried to leave. Another ship was seen offshore. The Captain did not want anyone else to know all about their gold and silver ore.
This was in the fall, when the storms are fierce. The Captain had been warned to wait until after the storm, but he left anyway. When he got out on the high seas, the ship split in two. All those perished, including the Captain. Only a young cabin boy was saved. He did not even know what the ship was hauling.

By Carl Ahwinona, Sr.

Shorefast ice

From Moon of the Bird Sling:

There is hardly anything to see now, except ice and snow.

--Arthur Tocktoo, Brevig Mission

Above: Broken shorefast ice, tuvam ayemqellgha, floating amid forming young ice, saallek.

Below: Shorefast ice, tuvaq, alongside very young ice, sallqaaq

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I had an interesting conversation with Lynn today, the reading teacher with me at the middle school. We talked about having to read essential literature. I may be changing my stance.

It seems to me that my previous list of the top ten books that all students should read before graduating is problematic. Can I really force a student to read something they have no interest in?

Take The Scarlet Letter for instance. I absolutely hated it as a junior in high school. It was a struggle to get through. Maybe it was the theme or the fact that they were talking about infidelity in marriage and I had no bloody clue as to what true fidelity or love was yet. I had barely had a girl friend up to junior year. How the heck did I know what the hell this novel was really talking about? And I remember hating it and I was in the highest honors English course. I have always been a top level reader. It wasn't that it was hard, it was that it was frickin boring.

Then I read The Scarlet Letter again in 2001. I had to because South Kitsap High School required it to be taught to the juniors. This was the only absolute literature requirement that South's English department chair was adamant on. And heaven help you if you disagreed with her. This time, being almost 28 years old and all the life that I had been through, I absolutely loved it.

Now it seemed to hit home. Now it seemed applicable and understandable. It wasn't this alien conglomeration of concepts. Now I saw the true reason that it was a classic. It wasn't because I was a better reader, it was because I was into it.

So what can you MAKE a kid truly read. They won't read anything if you make them. I have learned that now. I had kids voraciously read fantasy book after fantasy book but would not crack open the book that was assigned for class. Did I as an English teacher really assess this student on language arts and reading ability or did I grade his conformity to the classroom? Now that is a dilemma.

I may think about my Top Ten now as just a "guideline" for higher end readers to help them in their post-high school career. I still believe that they need to be exposed to the analogy that is the red letter A on Hester Prynne's chest. They may not have to read the stinking book though.

Assigning high-interest books in personal categories and choices is probably more important than what they actually read. That kid that read the fantasy books or that girl that was always reading those Palahiuk novels probably knew plenty of language arts. I knew that I was a good reader even though I read a thousand tons of comics.

Thing is...those comics made me read. I branched out into other readings because of them. I still read comics, for Christ's sake, but I still read! If that's what it takes, then I am going to have to analyze what I teach and what I actually want the students to learn.

Woo-hooo! I finally did it! I cleared 10 million points on that 3-D pinball game called Space Cadet that comes with Windows! 10,312,500.

From Moon of the Bird Sling:

We are the people of the sea. We respect the sea and the sea brings us a lot of bounty.

Paul Ivanoff III / Unalakleet

Picture of a skin boat frame, angyam neghqwagha, Gambell, St. Lawrence Island.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The new Superman Returns toys will come out soon. I think they used the molds from the Batman Begins line. Could that picture of Superman at the top be any dorkier? God, I hope this movie goes over well.

Got a bit of a blizzard going on out here in Nome this evening. Winds up to 40 miles per hour. Snow is blowing all over the place.

More of the blizzard. Note that you can't see any of the mountains that are behind the apartment complex.