ENTRY 0020, June 16, 2008
Okay, I kinda got out of the whole blogging thing. I was doing my
illustrated journal instead. I'm still doing that, but I have
been goaded into starting this up again.
To remind you, these are pages from my journal:
This is what I have been doing instead of blogging. It's much
more of a personal project, so don't hold you breath waiting for me to
post more. It's for me at this point.
So, what has been going on? Not as much as you would think in
some areas and more than you would hope in others. We have not
been back to Europe since our last excursion over Christmas,
2006. We have had lots of stuff to do, some of our vacation times
not match up, and overall, we were just really, really busy. We
did manage to travel to South Bend, Indiana to attend a Notre Dame
Football Game. This took place in October of 2007.
Everything about the trip was perfect, except for the final score of
We plan on actually updating our travel page with some of the photos,
so I will tease you with just three.
The recession that is/isn't there has hit our neighborhood. When
we moved in, our neighbors to the north were Tom and Martha. They
were wonderful people, and had occupied the house since about
1960. Martha died about 7 or 8 years ago, and Tom lived in the
house alone. He had regular visits from a nurse and his family,
so he was able to maintain without too much trouble. Despite the
fact he was almost blind he managed to keep his yard and fruit trees
looking nice. I talked with him about once a week, when he was
puttering around his yard. Well, Tom died about a year and a half
ago. His son inherited the house and decided to fix it up before
selling it. He took his time, never quite finished the upgrades
and eventually managed to sell it to... someone. We never saw the
new owners, whoever they were. The house sat empty, all utilities
turned off, so we couldn't even water the lawn. Now where Tom's
beautiful lawn used to be is a bunch of dead grass and weeds. I
manage to get our hose over the wall to keep his fruit trees from
dying. He really liked them, took really good care of them and
they do produce a nice variety
About three months ago, I noticed some official-looking paper hanging
from the door. Sure enough, it was a siezure for nonpayment of
the mortgage and intent to sell at auction. The auction was
scheduled for May 1. I don't know what happened at this auction,
but the house is still forlorn and empty... The housing crisis
has taken its toll.
At the same time, gas prices are doing some amazing and frightening
things. Well, just one thing, going up. At the bottom of my
last blog, written a year and a half ago, I mention that gas prices had
spiked to nearly $3.00 per gallon and were down to about $2.65.
Today, that same gas station was selling gas for $4.54/gal. That
works out to just a bit under ten cents a month increase...
My school year is over. I have sent all the kids home. This
year I did something a bit different. Not in my class, but in the
hallways. I have found that the science posters that are
available are not really useful for me. They don't cover the
topics I'd like to show the kids. Next, they are pretty
small. I'd like something bigger. Third, I wanted to use
the blank spaces in the hallway as display space to help educate the
How did I do this? First, I downloaded a copy of a program called
"The Rasterbator" from the sect of
Homokaasu . Using this program, you can take any image and
rasterize it. That means you convert it into dots of varying
sizes and colors. Then you can adjust the size of the image to be
anything from one page to hundreds of sheets that you can join together
to make a billboard. Using this program I made posters to fit
what I wanted to teach, added some expository text and I had a
mini-museum right outside my classroom.
I started doing this last year, but only in my classroom. I had a
few posters that were related to what we were learing at the moment,
and a few in "Mr. Owen's corner", the space of the room I devote to
non-topic-related pictures and posters.
Then I expanded to the hallway. First, just one:
Then I expanded into the other hallway...
This series was particularly popular with the students. There
were lots of 'whoas' when they read them.
The series on Mars was equally popular.
These were popular with almost everybody in the school. Even the
district superintendant complimented them when she walked through the
school near the end of the year.
When people ask me why I did this, I merely explain that I am tired of
What else? Well, we have really been working on our
crafting. We converted our patio into a craft room.
We do a lot of crafting, and this room lets us really go for it.
I even built an airbrush station so I can paint my kits without killing
my valuable alveoli with aerosoled solvents.
what's new? (Or, more precisely, what has happened since I last updated
this blog, a year and a half ago?)
-Bush is still a lying moron.
- John McCain has the Republican nomination. So if he wins, it
will sorta be like Bush gets a third term.
-Barack Obama has the Democratic nomination. A real chance at
-We still have two working rovers on Mars. They have exceeded their
expected lifespans by about 1000%. That is still Too Cool
- The shuttle has made a few more trips to the ISS, installing new labs
and modules. It is actually ready for a crew of 6 or so! I
hope that they keep the toilet operating...
- We hit 4,000 dead American soldiers in Iraq. This is in
addition to the 80,000+ iraqis killed by direct military action. (For
details see here.)
- ComicCon was okay. They changed a bunch of rules that made it
more difficult to actually get into the panels we want to attend.
We met a bunch of folks we wanted to meet
(Like Mike Nelson of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" fame (now doing "Rifftrax".) and Nick Frost and Edgar
Wright (co-star and director of "Shaun of the Dead"
respectively.) They were signing a limited number of autographs,
and we managed to get them all!) Not sure if we will go this
year. If we do, we'll only go for a day, instead of the whole
time like last year. It was disappointing not getting into most
of the panels we wanted.
Lots of other stuff happened, but that is enough for now.
Well, I gotta run.