Sunday, January 25, 2009

Retro Photo of the Week

Mamá y Melania 1988

Back to Junior High

I've been observing the English classes at a junior high school in Ogden for the past few weeks, and it's been very interesting. I've had a lot of fun getting to know the kids a little while being able to teach a few language arts lessons here and there. I've mostly been involved with the 7th grade classes. It's funny, the 7th grade boys still appear to be very much in the "little boy" stage, super hyper but very sweet and innocent. But the 7th grade girls are very much past the "little girl" stage and well into the "I'm so grown-up and much smarter than you" phase of life, kinda scary. My mentor teacher wants me to take the reins on the poetry unit coming up for this week, should be fun. Do you think I should introduce these kids to some T.S. Eliot? Hmmm, maybe not. Here's a little gift one of the 7th grade boys was kind enough to give me last week. Sweet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Retro Photo of the Week

Family campout...around 1984

Bog Pit Survival

The Discovery channel's Man vs. Wild is one of my favorite shows on television. Bear Grylls is always demonstrating essential survival skills on the show, like how to get yourself out of a bog pit, for example. Check this out...this info may save your life some day...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Retro Photo of the Week

Matt, Me, and Melinda—1987

The Movie We've All Been Waiting For

Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Release Date: January 16th
Awesomeness on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest level of awesomeness: 11


I took the Praxis test on Saturday. This is a test I had to take as part of my licensure process. I'm not sure if I passed--cross your fingers for me. I hate timed tests. I always end up running out of time and having to guess on several questions at the end. I actually kinda enjoyed taking this test though, 'cause it had lots of poetry and excerpts from some of my favorite novels...which probably added to my running out of time. Anyway, one of the poems on the test is one of my favorites. Here it is. Free verse has to be the kind of poetry I enjoy most.

When I heard the Learn'd Astronomer
Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
when the proofs, the figures,
were ranged in columns before me;
when I was shown the charts and the diagrams,
to add, divide, and measure them;
when I, sitting, heard the astronomer,
where he lectured with much applause
in the lecture-room,
how soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
till rising and gliding out, I wandered off by myself,
in the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
looked up in perfect silence at the stars.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Retro Photo of the Week

Here I am with Matt--Christmas Day 1995

Odds & Ends

On occasion, while eating my gigantic morning bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, Grape Nuts, or Honey Bunches of Oats (usually Honey Bunches of Oats), I decide to peruse the Standard-O-Town-Examiner. This morning was one of those occasions, and I happened upon a pretty funny story about a dude named James Howarth from Detroit. Don't ask me why the Standard-O-Town-Examiner chose to throw in a story about a Detroit man in their paper. Whatevah, I'm glad they threw it in, 'cause it made me smile. Here it is:

IRS letters just don't make cents
Howarth is a little confused
by two letters he has
received from the Internal
Revenue Service.
The Detroit defense
lawyer received one letter in
November that said he owed
the IRS money--5 cents.
He was warned that
he should pay "to avoid
additional penalty and/or
interest," the Detroit Free
Press reported Saturday.
Howarth says he then
received a second letter
telling him the government
owes him money--4 cents.
He was told he would
have to request the refund
because it's less than $1.
"When I owe them a
nickel, I must pay them. It's
not optional, but when they
owe me, I have to ask for it."
Howarth says he's not
sure if there is a connection
between the two notices or
if the refund represents a
recalculation of the first bill.
He says he called an IRS
800 telephone number but
gave up after spending a
long time on hold.
IRS spokesman Luis
D. Garcia says the agency
doesn't comment on
individual accounts.
--The Associated Press

Then I read a story that didn't make me smile, but I feel like sharing. The story was about a local musician, Brenn Hill, and his family. In late November Brenn's little boy, Briggs, was diagnosed with a large, rapidly growing tumor on his brain stem. Interestingly enough, Brenn Hill is known for playing benefit concerts for families going through "life's traumatic events" as the paper put it. So now Brenn is the one in need of one of those benefit concerts. Several benefits have been organized for Briggs, including a hip-hop dance group performance this month and a walkathon in the spring. I'm not sure why this story touched me so much when I read it this morning. Maybe it was the photos the paper included of the Hill family. They look like such a nice family, and it sounds like Brenn Hill is someone who does a lot to help others in need. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely gonna go to that hip-hop dance peformance this month. Here's how to help:

  • Centennial Bank, under Brenn, Briggs and Sylina Hill
  • Goldenwest Credit Union under Brenn, Briggs and Sylina Hill
  • Website,
To follow the family's journey, log onto, briggshill, where the family posts regular blogs about Briggs' progress.