Sunday, February 29, 2004

A perfect day around the house. I got to clean, do some wash, be with the kids and just hang around with my dear wife.

I talked with Paul later on in the afternoon about our life here in this small town. He is a pretty insightful man. His family moved here just as he was finishing high school, so he sees things from a perspective of a "move-in" and somewhat a person who has lived here for most of his life. There seems to be a large rift between the two parties, and it seems to hinge on family cohesion and ability to mind one's own business. Anyway, there is a mine of opinions on that subject here in Springtowne.

Time to put kids to bed.
This gentleman knows how to celebrate! Family, skiing and Snowbird.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

The sun and clouds exchanged dominance throughout the day, a few flakes even fell on and off.

Ryan, Paul, Roberto and I had a hamburger and Picadillies at Casey's City Lunch followed by a few games of eight-ball in the back.

Drie did most of the job in the cellar, she has had it with the mice. Silly beggars, if they would only act the part of guests instead of ungrateful housewreckers, I'm sure we could come to an agreement. But it's not to be.

The kids made toy airplanes and sewed Barbie dresses from one of Diedre's old skirts. They do a good job of keeping busy in the winter, in spite of acting a little bit like mice in the upkeep of their rooms and the like, it's fun to see what they make and invent with which to stay happy.

We awoke to new-fallen snow and a bluer sky; Moshe always likes new snow.







Friday, February 27, 2004

Everyone enjoys their own opinion. The internet is chock-full of narcissism, and I am not immune to the epidemic, as can be gleaned from this somewhat self-indugent verbal effluent so liberally flowing from my mind to the page.

I spend the day teaching and listening to people, each one with their own set of desires and hopes for their life. I help them with their writing skills, geography knowlege and Spanish acquisition. I get the opportunity to teach a class called 'Arts and Humanities,' in which i get to cover things as diverse as ceramic boat building and floating to Salvador Dali to Pablo Neruda. But these excercises are basically my opinions meshed with standards of curriculum and rules of usage.

My students express their own views too, sometimes quite forcefully and with some passion. I sometimes enjoy that, and others I just listen and intervene when things get too loud or disruptive for the school forum. My curriculum and methodology lends itself to self-expression and exploration, but sometimes I allow myself to forget the truth behind what I am trying to do. I get a bit too full of me, I reckon.

That comes a bit from the fact that I basically get to spout my own opinions all day. i must maintain some sort of decorum and semblance of rule of law in my classroom, if for nothing else, because that is how the "real" world works. I do not want to do my dear students any more disservice than I have to with my imperfections as a teacher.

But I love all of the subjects I teach, and at a real level all those I get to teach to.

I enjoy writing this little weblog in which I get to opine on this and that, interspersed with officially sanctioned links and graphics from here and there. every day for my family and anyone else who might stumble upon it.

Nevertheless, we each have our own views. Yours may be radically different from mine, but no less revered and reasoned. I hope that in my rush to write and express that I can stop to understand that I am one of a very great many, and that each has a lifetime of experience to share and reflect from.

But that is one of the great hopes for the world, no?

Onward, ho.

How can anyone be blue who has such as these to know and love?





What have I to show for this week of toil and labour? Three, now fully functional computers in my classroom (one raised from the dead,) two hastily tied flies for the students' perusal and example, a mountain of edited essays, a messy desk that has been cleaned completely at least twice this week, and the satisfaction of knowing I might have made some difference in a student's life if we're really lucky.

You need those brief pauses for inventory sometimes as a teacher, I am glad to be able to remember enough of this week to be able to note a few.

I got a new beret from France yesterday. I know of an British gent in the southeastern region of the country who agents for a factory there. They make beautiful berets for several resellers around France. Yeah, I know I have a few berets, and that I even have a blue one already, but the old one is worn out and the band broken in pieces. It doesn't take very much for me to rationalize a hat purchase, especially one from a grand old ethnic region like these berets.

As for the weekend, the snow looks like the largest factor keeping me from doing anything on a big scale, like heading down to Lee's Ferry to fish the Colorado or out to the Waterpocket Fold to gather the burnt-out ends of my days and winter-ways. So I'll probably sip chai, (a fine contemplative beverage) tie some more flies, and re-organize the cellar. And be glad of every minute, if I can help it.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

I've been piddling aound with classroom computers today, they are timedrains extraordinaire, I'll tell ya.

Yesterday was my birthday, Diedre sure did a dandy job on my cake. It was a whole-wheat double-chocolate cake with orange truffle frosting. Oh my, I wish I hadn't eaten dinner after sampling that cake. What a Lady.

Need to clean up your act? Try Dr. Bronners. All-One!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

According to this article in the DesNews, The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources' Wolf Working Group is seeking input from Utah's citizens on the future of the wolf in the state. This article says that there has been one 'short' visit from a wolf, but the local lore, which includes sightings by Lost Coyote and his extended family, anecdotally records these "visits" from wolves as currently ongoing and quite a few more than just one.

"Stairway," by Edward Hopper, 1949



If you were to walk out the door right now, what would you find? Would the door lead to the car that would whisk you away to work or an errand or the grocery store, or would the endless choices cause you to fall to the floor, incapacitated by silly laughter and sheer delirium at the prospects?

To me, it's amazing all the possibilities that are faced when presented with a door, a library or some such thing. The choices can be overwhelming or enlivening, depending on the level of energy or hope the individual faced with the choices is possessed of at the time.

I have heard that the human brain is never so filled with possibilities and potential as when a baby is born, and that the huge amount of pathways and synapses in the brain gets whittled down little by little as the child learns his world and surroundings. Each circumstance and choice the baby makes as he or she becomes a small child creates a new established course, strengthening those used as other connections in the brain start shutting down.

This process creates the personality and the intelligence of the individual, opening so many doors and libraries to that person's life, but it also suppresses many other ways and options. Though the process of hardwiring a brain are necessary, there is a downside.

As I think of all the things I could be doing right now, my mind races. I am here in my classroom, not eating lunch, listening to my students ask me questions. I am writing all this down in an electronic web-log. I am a teacher, supporting my family through my labours here.

I am not surfing, hiking, digging ditches, making love, driving, fixing my roof, dressing, making a sandwich, planting trees, flying, rebuilding a carburetor, painting, washing dishes, or any number of things that my mind can access as a possibility right this minute. There are countless things that I have never even heard of that I could be doing, but I can't conceptualize them because I have no frame to reference them.

Thus, they are not possibilities for me right now, because I am fixed in my life ways and references. Those ways keep me able to survive in our social structure, to contribute and be supported by the structure around me.

Some of the possibilities that could be engaged in might be counter to the morals of my society, they might even be against the law. The hardwire structure and chemically-etched habits of my personality keep me from such decisions; in fact, because of that structure I never have to make many of those decisions because they never present themselves.

I rarely consider wearing my shoes on my head, I almost never think of chopping my hand with a steel bar in the midst of in-service meetings, and I don't think I've ever thought of, um, just a minute... shaving half of my head, singing the Marseillaise for the rest of my life non-stop and eating nothing but orange construction paper and Enfamil.

Anyway. The point is that we are creatures of habit. I am afraid that I am especially susceptible to bland habit right now. I hope my blog doesn't drive too many dear readers away through sheer tedium!

And yes, my head sort of hurts after all that, too. My sincerest apologies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

This comes from the BBC, via Plastic.com. It goes very well with a blog and article I logged back on Wednesday, February 11 on the same area of the human condition.

It seems our species is undergoing a sort of spiritual crisis and I for one think that the outcome will be more a turning to true traditions and that which connects, rather than what innovates and sets apart and above.

On what that outcome might be more specifically, perhaps you might have some ideas? I talk too much.
It seems that while parents for the most part support the concepts within the "No Child Left Behind" program, they don't agree with the punitive methodology used, according to this Christian Science Monitor article.
To have extraordinary things to say, one must do extraordinary things.

At some level, I believe this. When I sit down to put an entry into this blog, I automatically go over the events of the last hour, then three hours or so, then the past day, and so on.

People do outstanding things in spite of constraints put on them by energy and time.

I usually don't, I just stay around my spaces and take care of things that need to be done or rant on paper or electron-screens.

What results is usually writing that is very mundane, focused on introspection and the world immediately surrounding.

I experience cycles in my animation for life and writing. If one goes back and examines the highs and lows in my adventures and blog entry, it becomes pretty obvious.

The radical element in my life right now is our youngest, Asher. He doesn't have any strong schedule or cycles, and my sleep patterns are showing evidence of that. My energy level from day to day hinges to a large extent upon Asher's moods and nocturnal whims.

At any rate, the short to this long is: damn, I'm tired, Asher didn't sleep very well.

More later, perhaps...

Monday, February 23, 2004

Dang. Today is a non-stop editing day. My students seem to have passed the milestone of "first touch of spring fever" that is usually followed by "holy crap, the school year is gonna end soon!"

They are handing in writing at a breakneck pace, and my red pen is flying. I am thinking in terms of high school grammar correction mode, so if I seem a bit brusque in my writing (if I get another chance today), that is probably why.

If you're interested, Michael Totten has an provocative take on the state of Adbusters magazine, the old marketing lampooner and media reality-checker. It seems to me there has been a lot of this type of polarization on the web, and I think 9/11 is indeed a watershed point in political and social consciousness for that schism.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

The weekends tend to be a bit reflective, time to so some mundane work that needs doing while thinking about something else. It's not exactly the change of pace the normal American media consumer craves, but it does in a pinch.

It snowed a wee dusting last night, enough to wet everything down and provide a place for our cat to wet his paws in mud and coal soot to get all over the chairs cleaned yesterday while thinking about other things.

Still deliberating and experimenting with Movable Type. Courage! That's all for now.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Science again! Hundred! Mustard crackers?
From time to time, I realize that I'm not being essentially true to my core values. When I examine that situation further, I usually find the reason isn't a breach of those values so much as a drifting away from an essential tenet or ritual that reflects and solidifies that value.

I'm not a huge fan of scriptures as long reading. I feel they are a record of someone else's spiritual or religious journey, and there can be lots of filler between the gems that resonate with my soul.

Particularly at this time in my life, with six kids, an entropic house, and a sometimes emotionally demanding job, I don't have too much extra energy to put into sifting chaff from any staff of life, particularly scriptural reading. I have made a few scriptures from a select few books the core of my spiritual life. They are my moral, spiritual and mystical basis, and they come to me in many situations in daily life when I am grounded in their messages.

I haven't taken time to review them or their meanings in any depth for quite a while, nor have I engaged them in any real way with any ritual such as prayer, tai chi or meditation, ways that I internalize the values I wish to keep close to my heart. Those things take huge amounts of energy to instigate and do right, but they give back much more when a level of discipline is reached.

Discipline is something that comes easily to those who truly engage in their mission and purpose. It's clear that there's something amiss in that area of my life.

I think that if I engage in closer communion with my core rituals and ideals, that the missing parts will become clearer to me. Perhaps I can engage in a cycle of discipline and purpose in order to re-engage my core values.

It's worth a try, at least.

It's about fourty degrees out there, I've been washing dog and cat prints off the front porch and furniture in hopes that I will be able to use them much more comfortably very soon.

Though spring gives me anxiety when I think about six kids, a large dog and two cats with all the mud about our cramped little nineteenth century home, I am still glad it's poking its head about.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Einstein's 'dark matter' theory gains new support. Physics and astronomy, what an amazing way to spend your life.
Look closely at this photo from the Utah.com website. Does this situation appeal to you?



It gives me the creeps, the heebeejeebees, and a mild panic attack. You may disagree with me, that is your perogative and I am happy for you and all that, but I just don't understand this world very often. Also, I know that there are much weirder human foibles than creating trafficjams in desert wilderness.

Though I do wonder what Ed would say.
I just sent my ThinkPad off to Memphis for repair. I would like to go to Memphis right now. The dogwood should be beginning to flower. I doubt my computer will appreciate it though...

Thursday, February 19, 2004

It's only one hundred and four pages long, but it speaks with life in such a way that stillness stays after the final word. Go read Norman Maclean's 'A River Runs through It,' if you haven't taken that opportunity.
Back to teaching and the old, regular schedule of one or two posts a day during the week.

The conference wasn't bad, as conferences go, and I learned quite a bit. That WiFi was outrageously useful; I was able to call up supplemental articles and extracurricular diversion at will, I should start investigating the sites of future conferences and inundate them with emails soliciting WiFi and threatening non-attendance to any non wireless enabled conference from here to everlasting.

It really was fun. It was almost worth having to sit through the rough parts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Lost Coyote has a good story to illuminate the crossing between real and the imagined.
Intelligence. What is it? How is it passed from generation to generation? Is it passed on primarily genetically or culturally?

Intelligence is defined and observed very differently from culture to culture. Howard Gardner is a groundbreaker in regard to this area of study and continues to be very influential in exploration of human potential and collective experience.
What is the process of coming into this world and accclimatizing oneself to the expectations, environments and hostility of this society? How does an individual adjust to this variable world of games and competitions mixed together with the individual's mindscape and outlook?

I am stumped. Excellence and progression in standards of living and coexistence are desirable, but I sometimes wonder if these advances are attended too closely by corollary losses in individual autonomy and environments free of coercion and pressure. These environments that I see as negative, some see as necessary, enjoyable or the very essence of life. Where is the middle ground? Where is the separate peace that is acceptable and not destructive to the ties between society at large and the sensitive individual?
An interesting piece on synesthesia, the ability to hear colors, feel sounds and taste shapes. Many still term this incredible talent a "disability" or worse (Via Instapundit.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Hooboy. Things are getting tedious around here. Anecdotes are being solicited and told about translation difficulties, and I am losing interest fast . Other things to do, other things to see.

Can't...... hold on.... much... longer!!!
Damn artists and hipsters. Every type of community seems to be under some sort of threat these days. Is mobility all we had hoped it would be?

Our community in Spring City has this same sort of problem and has been under such pressure for at least fifteen years. I'm sure there are many locals who would classify me as a "hipster" or "artist" type, and see me in the same light as the Hasids view their interlopers.

While the boom of the Nineties has been temporarily stalled, the blade of realestate speculation still hangs threateningly above our little town, at some time it will accellerate the de-communitiztation that the current climate of economic recession is causing.

Yet another unanswerable question from your rural pundit of obscure observation.
Members of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society are conducting some experiments to simulate meteorite impacts on the west desert and be able to identify natural imacts.

Tossing bowling bowls from light planes. Sounds fun.
Whewhoo! The spice of my life has re-entered my life, novelty! I am blogging today from the environs west of the Salt Lake CIty Airport, in the nondescript 'Venice' Conference Room at the Hampton Inn. Gracias a the miracle of free WiFi, I am able to browse the internet, check and compose email, blog and, when not too busy, listen to the garble spewed by presenters at the "Providing Services to English Language Learniners Via Interpreters" conference. For this wireless boon, I am truly grateful.

By the way, if you're not engrossed in a career-enriching experience like I am, you'd better grab your partner before it's too late...

(at $83 a pop, it looks like SF has lassoed themselves a cash cow! That's $201,275 so far by the Times tally. This might be something Utah could use to climb out of financial difficulty and finance public schools a bit more adequately. But would it be more more morally acceptable than a lottery to the good citizens of Zion??? Eh. Prolly not.)

Monday, February 16, 2004

Fishing at Clear Creek this afternoon, great trip, nice casts, no fish for me.

President's day was not very patriotic for me, though I did notice all the flags. I am an odd person in the midst of a strange society. It makes for a less than perfect outlook.

Holiday makes for scattered thoughts and I am a bit overtired. More tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I was reading the NYTimes and ran across this unfortunate piece of seventies nostalgia: Sid and Marty Krofft. It seems that cable channels think that toxic mind dye is worth dedicating a day or two of airtime to.

I saw an odd thing this morning. I was getting out of the truck after and heard a strange noise in the sky. It sounded like a really big jet, and I was right. Directly above, there was a gigantic, six-engined plane around seven thousand feet up. It took way too long to find the danged camera, but near as I can tell, it was a Antonov AN-225.



You can barely make out the six contrails from the engines in this photo.



There was only one made, some reports say two, and it was built to ferry the old Soviet Space Shuttle around. What was it doing cruising above central Utah on a Sunday morning? Beats me.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

First thing this morning, cut and stack wood from down by the cemetery at seven thirty. I got home at around ten to be with the Valentine and the kids.

Brynni made me a little sachet stuffed with pine needles and sewed by hand. All by herself, I might add. Yes, I felt quite amazed and overwhelmed. Who wouldn't.

Ryan and I worked on learning to tie flies with his little brother, Matt. He's quite a natural and very talented at many things, luckily one of his talents happens to be something I would have a hard time devoting much time to repeated failure and disappointment. We ended up coming out of the session very happy with our efforts.

This evening we watched 'Fiddler on the Roof' as is our tradition at least once a year. There is nothing that quite matches that movie for content and beauty, I love it more every time we see it.

Afterwards, all the kids gathered around me to watch me tie my first completely solo fly. A royal coachman, as seen in the poor quality image below.







Not pro, but I think it'll work at some juncture. I am enjoying this lots, and it is a dandy little skill, too.

'Night, until tomorree.

Friday, February 13, 2004

A quote from Gandhi-



I would say that if the village perishes India will perish too. India will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will get lost. The revival of the village is possible only when it is no more exploited. Industrialization on a mass scale will necessarily lead to passive or active exploitation of the villagers as the problems of competition and marketing come in. Therefore we have to concentrate on the village being self-contained, manufacturing mainly for use. Provided this character of the village industry is maintained, there would be no objection to villagers using even the modern machines and tools that they can make and can afford to use. Only they should not be used as a means of exploitation of others.



I might say that one could substitute the words Utah or Deseret in place of India in this paragraph from one of the world's greatest community thinkers.

Old Brig, and I'd have to say, Joseph had the same visions for this little area of the country. They labored for community cohesion and economic localization here in the mormon's temporary Zion. While the problem of exploitation hasn't been such a large problem for small towns in Utah in the past, it is becoming a bigger issue as people try to make them into tourist destinations and trophy cases.

I hope India is doing better than we are in upholding their true heritage and mission than we seem to be.
I woke up this morning to an important realization. On some level, I am anticipating, even expecting another release at the end of the year of a Lord of the Rings movie. Why has this become so subliminalized in only three years, that I am looking forward to something that won't happen? I need a life change or something. Sheesh.

I sat with Drie and watched 'Singing in the Rain' from start to finish last night for the first time since 1975. I saw it on the 'Channel 5 Big Money Movie' while at my Grandma's and Grandpa's house the summer my sister was born. Some strange old feelings came up while I sat there taking it in, I remembered things like sandboxes and sandwiches, ironing boards and things on the coffee table. I found myself laughing out loud at the scenes at the preview of 'The Duelling Cavlier' as it rolled through its madcap technical difficulties and ridiculous dialogue. Laughing just like when I was a kid. It was fun.

Other observations? Not really. It's another Friday at the Alternative, and we're just running around trying to keep the chaos at a dull roar. It's a life, for sure.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Cold. Very cold. Last night it got down to -7 degrees farenheit, that is pretty cold for mid February around here. My poor little Toyota was displeased with its labours getting me here this morning, but I think all is forgiven. Afterall, it is fourteen degrees out there now. Downright balmy.

Oh yeah. Scientists in South Korean have claimed that they have successfully cloned a human. Hm.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

From an article about modern funeral trends in today's New York Times:



"The ancient rituals are supposed to change and evolve to absorb new needs," Professor Long said. But among white suburban Protestants in particular, and also among some Catholics and less orthodox Jews, he said, "the chain has broken."



"It's not as if old rituals are evolving to absorb new needs," he said. "It's as if we've broken with tradition and people make things up."




Tre poignant. I think that point can apply in a multiplicity of ways in our present society.

In most ways, society has either rejected or devalued most of the traditions that make people human. Families have given way to the quick fix, either through material or outside relationships.

Accelerated by the industrial revolution, individuals looked outside of the family and community structure to find fulfillment. New developments in technology have quickened the pace of this disintegration of traditional human support to its present speed.

Anyway, who knows. I know there was a reason that people abandoned the old ways, whether that was because of social and economic repression or deprivation, or whether it was a more insidious breaking of those traditional ways to create more economic dependence upon systems being reinforced. The corporation was given charter by government by the people for greater rights than the individuals looking for happiness through that produced by the corporations.

I only know that there is a huge deficit being created in human collective consciousness, I hope we can find or remember something real to repair the hole.

Or is it only me? Perhaps. I see the evidence as stacking up otherwise, though.
There were perfect snowflakes falling this morning. I have heard that they form like this in a very narrow temperature and humidity range. I could have sat and watched them all day, but I had students to attend to.

I announced the beauty falling outside to the whole school and took a few students out with me. They were pretty impressed by the perfect snow, and thought that snowflakes were a myth of some sort, having for the most part never noticed them in real life.

What a blessing that experience was.





Tuesday, February 10, 2004

It's a cold, sunny day here in Ephraim. What will become of us in the end? Check out Lost Coyote.
Here is my transation of the 'Tiempo' article I quoted in Spanish earlier.



Before a half-empty auditorium, Alvaro Uribe defends his politics to the European Parliament

Uribe emphasized human rights and signaled the openness of his government to international community monitoring. At least fifty deputies of the Green Party and those with leftist and liberal allignments wore white scarves with the motto "Peace and justice in Colombia!" left the

assembly as Uribe began his remarks, leaving around two hundred and fifty of the six hundred and twenty six members of the house, of which some ten wore white scarves.

As Uribe finished his discourse, an unidentified member of the public yelled at him, "Narcoparamilitarist."

All of the leaders of political groups listened to Uribe, although those of the groups opposed to his presense in the House, the liberal Graham Watson, the Greens Daniel Cohn-Bendit and the leftist Francis Wurtz, announced that they wouldn't be participating in the parliamentary lunch with President Uribe.



I only have a cursory knowlege of current events in Colombia, but I know things are difficult. With all the warring factions, it would be a Herculean task to bring all together and produce a peace that would last and make an unified and contiguous country of Colombia.

Uribe is faced with that task, and faces his constituency in Colombia daily with that labor constantly present.

Heaven knows that all politcs are convoluted and at best confusing, but this sort of blatant discourtesy to a visiting official seems infantile to me.

I guess I'll never understand Europolitics.
Gotta love those europoliticos for their tact and willingness to listen to fellow politicians with real domestic problems to grapple with. This from "El Tiempo," a newspaper in Bogota,



Ante un auditorio medio vacío, Álvaro Uribe defendió su política en el Parlamento Europeo

Hizo énfasis en el respeto de derechos humanos y señaló que está abierto a la vigilancia de la comunidad internacional.

Al menos 50 diputados verdes y del grupo de la izquierda y liberal que portaban bufandas blancas con el lema "¡Paz y justicia en Colombia!" abandonaron el pleno al comenzar la intervención de Uribe, en la que quedaron unos 250 del total de 626 miembros de la cámara, de los cuales unos 10 llevaban pañuelos blancos.

Al final de su discurso, un hombre no identificado del público le gritó "narcoparamilitar".

Todos los jefes de los grupos políticos escucharon a Uribe, aunque los de los grupos opuestos a su presencia en la cámara, el liberal Graham Watson, los verdes Daniel Cohn-Bendit y el de izquierda Francis Wurtz, anunciaron que no participarán en el almuerzo de parlamentarios con el presidente.



Impressive. For those handicapped by non-bilingualism, I'll get to a rough translation sometime soon.

You could try out babelfish with this link if you're really bored.



Monday, February 9, 2004

Just a day of editing and mandates from the powers-that-be. Didn't even really check my email until now, this Monday will soon pass into history and small will be my mark on it.

I cleaned our stovepipe, though.

That counts for something, I'm sure.

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Money. Always gordam money. And ya gotta have it to run schools, even if it is screwy, hard to understand federal money. Go figure.
The talk at the prison went well.

I volunteered to go down to speak at a church meeting for someone who wasn't going to be able to make it. We left this morning at six forty-five to be in the meeting at eight. I rambled on about Job Matusow, prison service, Jesus and fishing, and not necessarily in that order. The gentlemen seemed to like it, especially coming from a stubble-faced longhair in hiking boots and a tie. I even got some great fishing advice from an inmate who obviously has serious experience on the Provo river. I look forward to using it soon.

I hope he's able to sometime soon, as well.

Been mucking around with the kids, reading and looking into the fly-tying books Ryan lent me. An aces Sunday winter afternoon, for sure.





Saturday, February 7, 2004

Ryan and I headed up to Provo today to pick up a few more fishing supplies (I got a fly tying vice and hip-waders) and to scout out the Provo River for some secluded spots to fish.

We did fine at the tackle shop, but by the time we got out of there and did a few other errands, it started to cloud over pretty fierce. It wasn't at all in yesterday's forecast for partly sunny with scattered snow flurries, but it started snowing when we got off the last stretch of valley river we wanted to scout.

As we started up the canyon, it began to blizzard. Snow started to cover the road and before long, we hit a patch of ice under the snow and started to fishtail wildly back and forth while I tried to continue a fishing story I was relating to Ryan. I got it under control and we decided to just abort the mission, but there were no really safe turnarounds at that point.

We passed a quad-cab Chevy pointed off the road the wrong way in the borrow with another truck and a car helping, so we slowed to a crawl. We still had little Hondas whizzing past, but we were doing alright at fifteen mph.

We turned around and headed back and passed another crash scene involving a van, three trucks and a car with several vehicles on the scene helping before we got out of that canyon and were grateful to get back into the traffic-choked valley with no snow pack for speed demons to cause too many more accidents with.

No photos to show, so sorry, we'll see what is seen tomorrow after my speaking engagement at the Gunnison Valley penal institution.

Yeah, that's another story for tomorrow as well.

Friday, February 6, 2004

Beautiful moon out tonight. You really oughta get outside more often. It is always worth it, even if it is fifteen degrees out.

It seems that lack of creativity never lifted. I can wonder why, or I could just write for writing's sake. I will choose the latter, and something worthwhile might escape the bonds of my sterile brain. ¿Quien sabe?

I finished John Nichols' book of essays this afternoon. He has quite a huge amount of cultural experience to draw from. Although I don't share many of his political ideals, I am in awe of his experience and strength of character. He has stuck by his convictions and ideals in a way that many don't take the time to even consider. A good read, I suggest it.

I wish you a fine weekend, photos tomorrow or Sunday!
For all you two people who frequent this auspicious weblog, today is a day of creative constipation. The admin and secretary of our school are at meetings, adding to the frustration. Thus, I beg your pardon and beseech you to check back this evening for your lite literary entertainment.

'Til then, check out Ryan's day over at Lost Coyote. His students are acting lots more cute than mine today.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Looking outside, I saw the sun peeking out and patches of sidewalk dry, so went outside to sit on the sidewalk at break.

I love February. I start noticing flaws in Winter's immobilizing grip again in February. Even before today's storm began to break, I began looking for the seams between clouds, the larger flakes that usually indicate the beginning or the end of a storm. I had energy of soul to do that, in part, because of the month we find ourselves in.

Sitting there, I watched as the snow on the pavement turned back to water and ran off toward the drain. The sun's energy made mist of some of the snow, wafting in my direction like a miniature fog. The blue openings grew larger for a few minutes, calling more color onto the trees poking up through the snow like sleeping beings waiting for a God to notice their need for new raiment.

The trees glowed with a red-brown hue against the new snow, I got up at one point to touch one because it felt like so long since I really saw a tree. The glow seemed to increase in focus as I approached the tree, and as I looked up the stem to the branches, I was rewarded by another dandy thing about February, new bud growth. I know they have been there all winter in some form, but it is usually in this month that they really form in my own mind. The tree's buds reflect those new buds in my heart, small and hard through December and January, but somehow they begin to grow toward some potency in this month.

Snow began to fall through the sunlight, and I turned round to take in the Western Range and the new bank of clouds forming around their summits, I noticed softening of the light.

Those clouds gathered as I breathed a few long breaths, walking slowly back toward the building to see my students again.
It's still snowing here in the heart of Utah. This is the longest continuous if not sustained snowstorm we've had in years. It's gonna be fun watching this stuff come down the canyons in the spring and summer. Hopefully it behaves well on the way down.

I was greeted by a pile of variously folded scrap papers on my dresser when I got home yesterday. Tor had spent his day experimenting with paper airplanes and putting them in my room so I could try them.

For an old fart not used to being on anyone's mind for very long, it is amazing how much these little children think about me and what they think of me. I am their daddy, their friend, their mysterious liaison between the big confusing outside world and the safety and warmth that mom generates at home.

They are getting old enough to create their own culture at home, and it's interesting to watch. The oldest kids go to friend's houses every so often and import new artifacts and sayings, and the culture takes huge leaps of complexity in a day. Sometimes there is a particularly interesting or striking program on TV that ripples through the tribe and shows up in a new form the next morning. There are games made up where I become a major player even though I'm absent, and I hear about the action through an excited replay as I walk through the door.

Tor is funny. I appreciate his paper airplanes, and I hope I always warrant his attention and inventions. I'll work on feeling like I deserve them, too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Can anyone explain Mr. Leavitt's actions?
Our friend Brad came over last night right when I got home from work. He is working in an outdoor therapeutic program in the west desert of Utah. We had a great time talking about the general issues they are experiencing in his group of students and the things he is learning and experiencing.

The area he works in is called the Great Basin, and although for some reason most Great Basin webresources are based in Nevada, there is a huge area of the Great Basin in Utah.

Brad and I have explored a few of the ranges in Utah's portion in the past, and it is beautiful.





I took this image on our last expedition to the House Range up by Notch Peak, about fifty miles southwest of Delta. It's a great place to be, and I can't wait to go back this spring.







Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Monday, February 2, 2004

A former student stopped in today. He has been on and off the road for the last year, looking for something to sink his teeth into and work towards in life. He has been across the country in a Dodge van, meeting people and making music to pay for gas. He spent the last summer on the streets of SLC, doing the same things without having to pay for gas.

I saw him about four months ago, he was here in Ephraim at his parent's house. He was regrouping his thoughts and looking for another van to run into the ground. He seemed a bit scattered, he wanted to get the GED and finish high school, but he still lacked a purpose.

During his visit today, he told me about his new trade. He's been trained as a framer and is loving his work. He said he is sleeping soundly at night (something he always had trouble with), he has energy in the morning and plain loves to do his work. He talked about saving money, eventual marriage and children- all quantum leaps for a kid who only a year ago hated everything about the world and most of its population. Direction will do wonders for a person, especially one as good as he.

It seems that the acquisition of materials and possessions isn't enough for most people. Especially with people who start off with not very much, some people never get in the swing of life for acquisition. Some of the kids I work with do very much want a good life filled with good stuff, cars, houses and as they say, Bling!, but they have a hard time with the formulation of a strategy for getting all that stuff. They seem to think it will come to them freely, without effort.

These seem to be the two biggest problems I face in my classroom, those who don't know what they want because things don't matter and that's all the world seems to be about, and the kids who want it all but don't want to do much about it or don't know how to.

I'm sure glad that some find their way, though. It will make my heart feel less strained for a while.

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Photos from the Saturday sled lark-



They were pretty cold by the end. In fact, Jesse wanted to go for another run, but because he was so cold, I couldn't really understand his slurred language. That's when we decided to call it a day.





Moshe was pretty happy about the whole thing too. I loved it, though I'm afraid I've another reason to want a four wheeler. I'll be completely rural before you know it.