Summer Update

Turkey Vulture in the Clouds

Turkey Vulture in the Clouds

So the semester is over and summer is officially here for me, solstice be damned. I’ll probably be able to blog a bit more, and vent some of the accumulated thoughts jumbled up in my brain.

For now, a few bits of updates.

I’ll be reading and reviewing The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose, for Carnal Nation. I’ll post a link for you when it’s up.

I’ll be hosting the next Carnival of the Liberals here on May 20th. I’ve been receiving submissions and should be getting to those by tomorrow. To this point, they’ve been shunted into a folder in my mailbox just because they started coming in during the lead up to finals week.

Speaking of finals, I think our team project for English 113 (our final was a presentation on one of Hamlet’s soliloquys) went OK, and I expect an A on that and in the class.

I bumped into my Bio 112 prof in a store here in town a few hours after the Bio final. He stopped to say hello and told me I got an A on the final, and complimented my answer regarding The Tragedy of the Commons. I don’t think I did well on the previous exam, so I’m thinking I’m in A/B borderland. Hopefully the final will pull me above the line.

I’ve been doing a lot of photography, uploading pics to my Facebook albums and to Twitpic. Kay is prepping to graduate high school next month, and since the ceremony will be in the football stadium, we needed a decent camera. I had been scrounging to find some cash for summer tuition, but we diverted those funds (and then a little) into getting a Canon EOS Rebel xs a few days ago since I won’t be going to school this summer anyway, and I’ve been using the heck out of it and trying to figure out all those knobs and buttons.

And that’s a bit of a story, too. UNCW Center for Marine Science gives two paid internships per year to Coastal Biology students, and I was nominated by the department for one of them. That was awesome and I was very excited. But then Dub emailed The Chair to tell her that the economy tanked those two internships. That was not awesome and I was bummed. Then Dub emailed The Chair again, and offered one internship on a volunteer basis, and I was offered that. So I guess now I’m quasi-excited. I said from the beginning that I would have done it for free, and in fact assumed it was volunteer at first and was happy to do it, but then I found out I was going to be paid, and now that I’m not going to be paid… well, y’know. I’m excited, but feel a bit like a kid teased with a lolipop. Oh well, I’m looking forward to it. Dub is where I intend to finish my bachelors degree and they have a ton of interesting research projects going, so it’s still a great opportunity. I’m really proud of being nominated for that one slot.

Easy Cool

Easy Cool

And JP. James tried pole vaulting this year for the first time. It’s interesting in that he had no idea that my Pop was a pole vaulter in high school. He seems to love it, finished fifth in the conference, and even went to Regionals. He lettered, and he’s got three more years of vaulting ahead of him. How freaking cool is that?

Oh, and he’s fifteen today. Happy Birthday, son.

From whence came the art:

I took both of those images with my new Canon EOS Rebel xs, and they are each licensed by me under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- Share Alike 3.0 License.

Just a Simple Melody

Feeling each word!, by Shahireh @ Flickr

Feeling each word!, by Shahireh @ Flickr

It’s funny, the connections the internet brings. Finding the little things that connect me to someone half a world away always amazes me, always brings a smile and a sense of wonder.

Now sure, there are the big connections, the grand ideas that I share with lots of people. Ideas that are large and encompassing: important, headline material upon which the future of humanity hangs.

But much more likely to bring a smile of wonder to my face are the little things, little things like a song sung on the street by an unknown street performer.

I was on Facebook a few days ago, and came across a random meme involving ‘my rock band’. The idea was that I was to use the randomize features of wikipedia, quotationspage, and Flickr to put together my fictional band’s first album cover.

I thought it a pleasant distraction, and went through all the steps. (I’ll put up the meme at the end of this post.) The image I drew through Flickr was (oddly enough) titled Flicker, by a photographer named Shahireh. Shahireh’s photostream is made up of photos from the UK and from Iran, and most of the comments left to her are in Arabic Persian of Farsi (though she speaks both Arabic Persian of Farsi and English). It made a great album cover, and I was moved to flip through her other photos. One of them, the one to the left, caught my eye.

Read on, to find out why.

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Text Book Addenda

Your future starts today

Your future starts today at Coastal Carolina Community College

For Kayla.  The Onslow County School District will pay for her college courses, and they used to have a book exchange program.  It may or may not be renewed, as past students apparently have been remiss in returning the text books.  We won’t know the district’s decision until Tuesday.

Psych 150 – General Psychology – Psychology MyLab Edition (Hardcover), by Saundra E. Ciccarelli (Author), Glenn E. Meyer (Author) – $124 new, $92 used, $118 new @ Amazon, $56.95 used @ Amazon.

Art 111 – Art Appreciation – Living with Art 8th edition, by Mark Getlein,  – $112 new, $83.95 used, $98.77 new @ Amazon, $78 used @ Amazon.

She’s kind of limited by what the district will pay for, and by prerequisites, so she picked classes that A) had seats open in time slots when she isn’t in school, and B) would probably be required across a wide variety of majors, as she’s become less decided on her field of study these last few weeks.

(How we spent yesterday together below the fold.)

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Fire

Got a call from Kay a while ago, she had just gone to pick up her check from work and put it in the bank.  (Still hard to get over her working and driving and all that!)

She’d gotten a block down the street.  A friend of my son, we’ll call him D, lives down there.  He’s kind of one of my adopted children.  D was home alone, and his house had caught fire.  I grabbed both house extinguishers and started to run down the street, hoping it was maybe a pot on the stove or something.

No.  When she said “on fire”, she meant “on fire”.  D was out and unhurt, spraying the garden hose in one of the front bedroom windows, but it was a battle he had no chance of winning.  At the very most he might have slowed the fire a little until the fire companies got there – except it was already in the ceiling and attic.  It was brave, if hopeless.

(More after the fold)

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Happy Coffee Pots and Sad Connections

I made this cup of coffee and it danced for meI’m a coffee addict. I drink a couple pots a day, which probably isn’t terribly healthy. With that kind of (over)usage, I tend to go through coffee pots fairly quickly. Usually, I’m happy to get a year or two out of them, so I don’t bother spending a great deal of money on them.

Last year, on Mother’s Day, my $10 Sunbeam decided it had had enough, and just stared angrily at me, rather than make my damned coffee. Recalcitrant jerk. It was Sunday, it was Mother’s Day, it was 6 A Fracking M. How terribly rude and inconvenient. Fortunately, Wal-Mart is open, even on Sunday, even on Mother’s Day, even at 6 A Fracking M.

It took some time, and was somewhat later in the morning before I actually got out the door, but I came home with my very first Mother’s Day present (from myself). I decided I’d splurge, and see if I could get more life out of something more expensive. It was sleek, black, and had a cappuccino / espresso maker attached. It was awesome, and I looked forward to the occasional chokalokacappuccino mocha latte ramalamadingdong.

Sadly, by Father’s Day, the thing would take like an hour to brew a pot of coffee, and gurgled and wheezed and caused the windows to rattle and I got the occasional complaint from the neighbors. I could always tell when they had planned on sleeping late in the morning by the evil stares across the yard in the afternoon. I had brewed too early. Still, I was determined to get my fifty bucks worth, and I’ve put up with the rattling, groaning, overpriced piece of garbage for over a year now.

This morning, the neighbors are happy. They are asleep in their beds, contentedly dreaming of JanieBelle and Kate and Lilith and Lucifer, whilst I sit here writing nonsense, enjoying freshly and quietly brewed joe. Little John, his own father now a permanent resident of California, surprised me with a beautiful white cheapo coffee pot for Father’s Day, and I love it dearly already.

But this Father’s Day brings me strange and sad news already as well.

(Continued below the fold)

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Nasty Nightmare

My Own Nightmare, by Infinity Rain @ FlickrSometimes a nightmare will inspire me, once I’m awake and look back at it. Not this one. It just scared the living crap out of me. Fortunately, I woke up before the end.

I needed some pain meds yesterday, after being four hours on my feet in the morning. The last three days, I’d been proctoring for the middle school End of Grade exams, so for the first time since I injured my neck, I’d been on my feet for an extended period without a break. Yesterday was the last day, so once I’d gotten the kids home from school I took a couple of muscle relaxers. I thought about the pain killer but decided to skip it. I haven’t had one in a while and didn’t want to get started taking them again. It’s a very addictive narcotic, and it makes my head all fuzzy.

The muscle relaxers kicked in and I crashed out about six last night. I slept straight through to 3AM, woke up for about an hour, and went back to sleep.

I awoke from the nightmare a few minutes ago. It started out pretty good, though. I was a new teacher and a group of really old black men with silver hair were teaching me to play the saxophone in the teachers’ lounge (which was outside on the deck in the forest, ’cause that’s where teachers’ lounges always go, right?). I stepped away for a moment to talk to my wife, and when I got back, the table, the men, and the sax were all missing.

It must have been late fall, because the ground was covered in orange leaves and the trees were bare. My wife and I went looking for the sax in the forest. I found it at the bottom of a little dry creek bed, caught in the top of a fallen tree. When I climbed into the thick tangle of branches to get it, I suddenly found that the tree was not a fallen one at the bottom of a creek bed, but a standing one at the tip of a long, skinny spit of land overlooking a deep gorge, and it was swaying (with me in it) out over the chasm. I shifted my weight a little when it swayed backwards toward the safe ground, and got it to crack and fall, dropping on top of me as I hit the ground.

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Licensed Driver

Entering Hyperspace, by ÉoleKay passed her driving exam today, and can now legally drive herself around without me.

I sent her to the grocery store. (Not really, but I’m going to.)

She’s out on her first solo now, gone to visit her Mom at work. I’m so proud, and so damned old.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Entering Hyperspace, by Éole