Sunday, July 29, 2007


Anybody can be on TV these days. Need proof? Check this out:


I'm happy to be coming back to a top-notch, supportive school district and community. Despite that blessing, I'm a little bit freaked this week because my new classroom is a void: no books, no student computers, no art or school supplies. Yikes!

I don't even have a stapler or a pair of scissors; my desk is empty, without so much as a box of paper clips. I had to scrounge around and beg a filing cabinet from another teacher who had two. I know the principal, my department, and the parents will work together to help me gather resources this semester, BUT what am I supposed to do the first few weeks of school while those wheels are set into motion? I guess it's time to put on my creative thinking cap. They expect me to spin straw into gold. Anybody got any straw?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Lock Down
Originally uploaded by Andrew Jalali
I've been assigned a classroom! Tomorrow morning, I'm driving over to pick up my key and see what resources are left in the room. I'm expecting tumble weeds and maybe a skull. I'm afraid that I may be stuck with the bare bones listed on the inventory (desks, a file cabinet, a TV, & a set of dictionaries, if I'm lucky). When the previous teacher left, I assume she either took everything else, or the neighboring teachers swept in like vultures and picked the room clean. I see a trip to the thrift store in my future.

I found out I'll be teaching 6th and 8th graders. The broad topics I've been assigned to cover the first semester are leadership, forensic science, space, and independent study. I've taught elementary units on all 4 topics, and I'm looking forward to modifying and building on them now that I have older students. I also found out that I'll be planning my lessons with another teacher who will be covering the same topics with her students. I hope to meet her soon, as I'm eager to get started. The students report August 3rd!

I don't know about you, but I remember when school started after Labor Day. Ah, the good old days...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Simpsons Avatar, originally uploaded by Tinker*Tailor.

To promote the new Simpsons Movie coming out in 10 days, you can now make a Simpson-style Avatar of yourself at a couple of websites. The first is the Official Simpsons Movie site. The other is the Burger King Simsonizer. I ran across some of the avatars on flickr - there are even a couple of groups that just formed for them. I tried the online movie one. It's not a striking resemblance, but it was fun to make.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Last Tuesday, Doug Marlette was riding along an Oxford street with the town's high school drama coach. The weather was rainy, and the car hydroplaned and crashed into a big tree. The driver survived, but Marlette was killed.

Mr. Marlette had been helping the Oxford High School Theatre Department with their production of Kudzu, the musical adaptation of Marlette's comic strip of the same name.

The kids were preparing to take the show to the Edinburgh International Festival. As far as I know, they will still perform the show there August 17-22.

Besides creating Kudzu, the 57-year-old North Carolina native was a Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist and a novelist.

Kudzu is one of my Dad's favorite comic strips. He often relates some witty thing that one of the strip's main characters, the Rev. Will B. Dunn has said. I've never taken much of an interest in Mr. Marlette's work, but after seeing a rebroadcast presentation by him on Book TV, I plan on reading his novel The Bridge.

In the presentation, he talked about what it means to be a Southern writer. I was engrossed in his speech and wish I could order a copy to watch again later. (It's coming on again Monday, July 16, if you are interested in seeing it.). I'm sad that I never took the time to follow his career, and I am relieved that he is survived by his writing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


new webcam
new webcam,
originally uploaded by Tinker*Tailor.
I spent a few minutes tonight fooling around with my new Philips webcam & headset. Now I can finally use the video feature on Skype.

I'm not impressed with the picture quality, but I'm sure a lot of the blame rests on my poor bedroom lighting. The headset is the most uncomfortable I've ever worn; I'll have to replace it soon.

I dropped my home phone line years ago, relying only on my cell for domestic calls. But I'm happy to have Skype so I can still make calls to my family overseas. And it's free! Hard to beat that kind of deal.

Do you ever Skype? Think it will totally replace home phone lines someday?


My oldest brothers turn 50 today. Happy Birthday, guys!