Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Musk Ox again

This time, the musk ox were within sight from our apartment. We drove out to see. The best new thing in this herd was the BABY MUSK OX! I thought at first that a dog was harassing the herd.

This is a picture out our back window. You can see the small herd of seven or so musk ox right over the hill. When Amy got home, we took the car out to go see them up close.

Madison likes to play drums on Daddy's head.

Madison and Daddy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A review for the new online graphic novel called SHOOTING WAR is up at Independent Propaganda. Check it out! Seriously, this graphic novel is worth the visit.


We spent most of the wonderful sunny and 50 degree + day outside yesterday. What a wonderful way to start the summer. We took a drive and ran past this herd of caribou. This was out around Dexter Bypass Road, around the mountain from us not too far.

I am still looking for my first moose.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Risk Seahorse

The family played RISK the other weekend for some quality time. Amy created this seahorse from the army pieces. It was inspired all by the roman numeral 3 for the snout.

Supreme dumb ass of the universe

It says right on all the materials I have ever received from the state: "Certificate holders are responsible for knowing and satisfying certification requirements."

I took my Praxis I test too late--the test of basic skills. I actually took one in Illinois way back in like 1994. The scores took too long to get there. My initial certificate here in Alaska actually expired this month. They needed to get those scores by the expiration date in order to continue my certificate the next two years.

Now I have to reapply. I have to send in the $191 again. I have to send Northern Illinois University another flipping $5 for an official transcript.

I am so mad at myself. If I had my act together, I would have taken the test when it was offered earlier, back in the beginning of March. All this could have been avoided. It was my extremely bad mistake.

I feel like a true dipshit.

However, this is one of those occasions that reminds me to push due dates on students. "See, this is what happens," I would say. "This mistake is going to cost me application fees again. There is no waiver here. This is the State we're talking about."

I'm upset and mad at my own stupidity.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Long Weekend

Amy said yesterday, "I have a three-day weekend coming up!" Ya know, Memorial Day and all.

Morgan and I said, "We have like a 93-day weekend coming up!" Ya know, what with summer vacation and all.

It is a day like this that I look up and say, "Ah, it is good to be a teacher."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Murder of Crows

As you may know, a group of fish is called a "school," a group of lions is called a "pride," and a group of seagulls is called a "flock." Some are a little more unusual. See if you can guess what animals belong to the following groups:


Crash - Rhinoceros
Exaltation - Lark
Mob - Kangaroo
Murder - Raven/Crow
Parliament - Owl
Pod - Whale
Sounder - Pig/Hog

New Superman Returns promo posters

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Review of The Afterlife

My review of The Afterlife webcomic is up at Independent Propaganda. Check it out!


} Eidolons

I met a seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the world,
The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense,
To glean eidolons.

Put in thy chants said he,
No more the puzzling hour nor day, nor segments, parts, put in,
Put first before the rest as light for all and entrance-song of all,
That of eidolons.

Ever the dim beginning,
Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle,
Ever the summit and the merge at last, (to surely start again,)
Eidolons! eidolons!

Ever the mutable,
Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering,
Ever the ateliers, the factories divine,
Issuing eidolons.

Lo, I or you,
Or woman, man, or state, known or unknown,
We seeming solid wealth, strength, beauty build,
But really build eidolons.

The ostent evanescent,
The substance of an artist's mood or savan's studies long,
Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's toils,
To fashion his eidolon.

Of every human life,
(The units gather'd, posted, not a thought, emotion, deed, left out,)
The whole or large or small summ'd, added up,
In its eidolon.

The old, old urge,
Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo, newer, higher pinnacles,
From science and the modern still impell'd,
The old, old urge, eidolons.

The present now and here,
America's busy, teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate and segregate for only thence releasing,
To-day's eidolons.

These with the past,
Of vanish'd lands, of all the reigns of kings across the sea,
Old conquerors, old campaigns, old sailors' voyages,
Joining eidolons.

Densities, growth, facades,
Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees,
Far-born, far-dying, living long, to leave,
Eidolons everlasting.

Exalte, rapt, ecstatic,
The visible but their womb of birth,
Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape,
The mighty earth-eidolon.

All space, all time,
(The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns,
Swelling, collapsing, ending, serving their longer, shorter use,)
Fill'd with eidolons only.

The noiseless myriads,
The infinite oceans where the rivers empty,
The separate countless free identities, like eyesight,
The true realities, eidolons.

Not this the world,
Nor these the universes, they the universes,
Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life,
Eidolons, eidolons.

Beyond thy lectures learn'd professor,
Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope observer keen, beyond all mathematics,
Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy, beyond the chemist with his chemistry,
The entities of entities, eidolons.

Unfix'd yet fix'd,
Ever shall be, ever have been and are,
Sweeping the present to the infinite future,
Eidolons, eidolons, eidolons.

The prophet and the bard,
Shall yet maintain themselves, in higher stages yet,
Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy, interpret yet to them,
God and eidolons.

And thee my soul,
Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations,
Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet,
Thy mates, eidolons.

Thy body permanent,
The body lurking there within thy body,
The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself,
An image, an eidolon.

Thy very songs not in thy songs,
No special strains to sing, none for itself,
But from the whole resulting, rising at last and floating,
A round full-orb'd eidolon.

} For Him I Sing

For him I sing,
I raise the present on the past,
(As some perennial tree out of its roots, the present on the past,)
With time and space I him dilate and fuse the immortal laws,
To make himself by them the law unto himself.

Friday, May 19, 2006

This is the road looking into Nome. The road behind us leads out to Council, about 70 miles away.

Some of the kids started playing with the snow in the culvert. They were trying to unearth the pipe to let the little stream flow better. Grady fell in.

Those fires became pretty big.

You were probably wondering what we used for fire on the tundra, what with no trees at all. Simple: pallets. Kawerak donated a bunch and there were some out in back of the school we were allowed to take.

Now the kids started playing football. Get this--they played tackle football. Look at all those rocks there on the beach. They played tackle football on that. Gotta say one thing about these kids: they are tough.

Eventually this will be a roaring beach with waves and everything. The shore ice should go out within the next month or so.

The kids brought lunch and enjoyed each other's company by the fire.

Amos and Brandon walking the beach.

CJ is pushing a chunk of driftwood to sit near the fire. As you can see by the outfits, we still have a wide variety of kids. Elton in the black hoodie in front there is wearing shorts and isn't cold at all.

This picture of the fire is cool because the smoke smudges out that middle section.

Now comes the really interesting part. There are still miners that come here panning for gold. This tent will apparently be occupied all summer from the miner that will spend his days panning the silt from the beach. (Funny aside: Bill was telling me this was a miner and I asked, "How do you know he's under 18?" )

The stuff that washes ashore still amazes me. I think this wire-thing is either a crab pot or some other kind of fishing gear. Those kids in the background were in the "outfield" of the Eskimo Baseball game. Now that I think of it, it had a lot in common with Running Bases.

The beach is right off the road. I did a lot of walking along the beach looking for beach glass. I found some cool pieces, including what I have been told is a rare blue one. Red is apparently the most rare.

Unfortunately, Aidan missed the ball. You can see it on the ground at his feet.

I got to try out the stop-motion action feature on my camera. I got several pictures of Aidan here winding up and swinging at the ball. This was great to catch it in midair.

The kids started playing Eskimo Baseball. I still don't know if I understood all the rules. Derek here is up at bat. The kid in front of him is going to throw up the ball. Then there is running to the other side of the field. People come back to score. You really get tagged out in this game--the kids throw the ball at you!

Three teachers gathered around the campfire.

The sea ice has not yet moved out.

At the beach, the firstcomers tried to get good driftwood seats. This wood must come from a long way away because there are no trees anywhere near this large for hundreds of miles. It was a little chilly today but we made some fires to keep us warm.

Kyle, also known as "Shakespeare" for how well he did on reciting the speech a few months ago, is ready to go.

Greyson is ready. He's our heavyweight wrestling champ.

Jonny Wongitillin is ready to go! The only way to tell the difference between Jon and his twin brother Mikey is that Jon wears blue and Mikey wears red. There must be something in the water here in Nome because, man, we have a lot of twins.

The teacher's lounge. We are preparing for the field trip. Morgan saw this picture and said, "Hey, there's no hot tub!"

Today, May 19, 2006. New fluffy snow was coming down. Today was the big field trip for the junior high students--to the beach!! It barely got to 35 degrees by noon. But we were resolved to enjoy a day of just playing around with the kids. I snapped this picture on my commute/walk to work.


Today is the anniversary of the death of T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia. He died in a motorcycle accident, which is exactly how the movie starts. I think I will watch it on DVD again tonight. Not only is it one of the greatest movies of all time, it has a great message about life.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I knew it would happen. I knew that somebody would take graduation tests to court and would win. Even though the argument presented here is about English language learners, I think that this will open up way too many "ifs" in the fact that students must pass the test. Personally, I strongly believe in these exit exams. They only test tenth grade requirements, for Pete's sake. It will be hard right now because these tests are being enforced on a population that never had them before. I believe that as new children enter school and work from kindergarten through tenth grade, this test will become part of the pattern. It will not be the exception.

Snow in May!

It is May 18 and it is snowing here in Nome, Alaska.

This is by far the latest I have ever had snow in my life.

People around here are shrugging and saying it's normal.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Found on the beach

While we were also out that weekend (two weekends ago now--man, I meant to get these pictures up faster but it is amazing how fast time flies!), we went to the beach to wander for a little while. This beach is interesting because there is always beach glass, cool rocks, driftwood, and a bunch of other things that wash ashore. One of them looked like the front grill to an old cast iron stove. Found an old rusted roll of barbed wire (fun for all the kiddies!) We find plenty of beach glass of all colors. Those are neat. Most of this is the stuff you wish you could find on the beach down in California or Florida or something.

The other side of the mountain

Last week we took a drive around. We saw the other side of that mountain out our back window. The rock formations are really interesting here. The one is locally known as "House Rock." We actually thought it was a house while we were driving. If we had kept going down this road, we would have reached Teller, a little village. It is about seventy miles away but on this dirt road, I don't know if you could do more than 40 miles an hour at best. It would take a while. We plan on doing the drive once this coming summer. We plan on doing a lot of exploring this coming summer.