Sunday, December 31, 2006

Odds 'n' ends

For Christmas, my wife got me the soudtrack from Cirque du Soleil's Love. It's an interesting remix of Beatles stuff...the drumbeat from song X with the guitar lick from Y and lyrics from Z. Fun to go along with. I especially liked "Nus Gnik," or "Sun King" played backwards. Next time I'm in Vegas, I'd like to see it.

The very same day, I finally saw Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I've been meaning to see this for years because I've heard it was so laughably bad, and it did not disappoint. It stars the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton as Billy Shears and the boys, trying to save the world from Mean Mr. Mustard. It features George Burns singing "Fixing a Hole." It features evil characters singing beautiful love songs "Because" and "When I'm 64." After the first reel, there aren't any lines of dialogue -except- the words to Beatles songs. It's like something I would have tried to do when I was 10, only mine would have made sense. It has absolutely no idea what the hell it's doing. Absolutely hilarious stuff. I can't believe that so many good people felt it was an idea to be in this.
See it soon.

Last night was Little Miss Sunshine. See this movie. It's hilarious and quite heartwarming (and you know how I feel about my heart being warmed). Maybe the best movie I've seen in '06...it's between that and An Inconvenient Truth.

I can't believe the Broncos lost a critical game at home to an inferior team. Somewhere in Denver right now, they're talking with downcast eyes about the way that this never would have happened at the old Mile High...that it's all Invesco Field's fault.

It appears that my wife and I now both must root for the NY Jets in the playoffs. We both drew the Jets after taking this wacky test.

For the second time in three years, it's lobster on New Year's Eve, bay-bee!

Hope you had fun. Happy and peaceful '07 to everyone.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Possible headlines for this story?

This is good for a laugh.

Headlines?

"Why Spelling Matters"
"His Girlfriend Better Be Nice to Him When He Gets There"
"The US Is BEHIND Germany in Geography Education?"

I do wish he'd stuck around in Montana for a while. You know, make a go of it in Billings in January even if it was unexpected.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

To the victor go the spoils.

I have clinched the 2006 championship in my fantasy football league. I have won $200. Yay, yahoo, yippy.

Should I buy an IPod or should I chuck the money into my personal vacation fund?

Seriously, it's not like I do a bunch of running or working out...but maybe an IPod would make me more likely to go to the gym?

I don't currently know whether there will be time for a trip this summer: we'll be moving, and, God and new principal willing, I'll be busy preparing to open up a new school. But maybe that $200 will make it more likely I'll get away for a much-needed long weekend.

What do you recommend I do with this sudden windfall?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A few sentences about Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-VA)

I just read this.

Representative Goode, your ideas are far closer to the Taliban's than to the Founding Fathers'.

If you believe some religions should be excluded from government, I'd recommend you find a country more like 1999 Afghanistan, which clearly is more suited to your philosophical beliefs.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Three maps:

of places I've been.

I do look pretty good as far as the US. A trip to NH and Maine is SURELY in my not-too-distant future.


create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

But I need to get beyond North America and Western Europe. (See the tiny red dot for Puerto Rico? I do. See the one for the Cayman Islands? Me either.)



create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

Of course this looks a little better if we zero in on Europe only:



create your personalized map of europe
or check out our Barcelona travel guide

And what about Canada? Well, here's what about Canada.



create your own personalized map of Canada
or check out ourVancouver travel guide

Dude, if I make it to Nunavut, that's SO much red ink!

(From Tommyspoon.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jack Bog's Buck-A-Hit Day

Head on over there and leave him a comment. For every unique visit, he gives a buck to local charities, whether you comment or not. But you totally should leave a comment because, if you leave the most unique holiday-related (you choose the December holiday) comment, you get to pick what charity gets a chunk of money.

I'll be there, and I'll stay up all night trying to come up with something witty. You should go too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

NBPTS Review

Back in June, I posted how I thought I did just after the test. Let's see how accurate I was at assessing my own performance. I'll post my scores after my comments from back then.

QUESTION 1: LITERARY ANALYSIS. I had to analyze a poem and its literary devices. I think I nailed it.

Survey said: Did fine. Not a nail, but good.

QUESTION 2: UNIVERSAL THEMES. Nailed it. Yay me.

Survey said: Not a nail, but a near-nail. Thanks to all who helped me.

QUESTION 3: TEACHING READING. I do believe I properly identified a student misconception in reading, and have a strategy to address that misconception. I expected this one to be harder for me, but I think I did well with it. In fact, it might well be another nail.

Survey said: Merely decent. Not a nail, but not bad.

QUESTION 4: LANGUAGE STUDY. This is where things started to go a little southward, in part due to fatigue, and in part due to the fact that this was my least comfortable question. I studied for it, I identified the lowest-level error in the student's oral and written work, and I suggested some (fairly lame, I'm afraid) techniques for dealing with it.

Survey said: Total nail. Wha???!!!??? I totally don't get this. This is my weakest area as a teacher, and it was my second highest score on the entire test. OK, whatever...I'll take it.

QUESTION 5: ANALYSIS OF WRITING. I thought this would be easy, but much to my chagrin, it was difficult. This is the exercise that deals with a prose piece's "audience and purpose," and to talk about how the style demonstrates each. I was able to do one of those two very, very well, but was very weak in the other...perfunctory in some places. I wonder how they'll handle that?

They handled it by giving me a totally-nailed-it high score--my highest on the whole test. Whatever.


QUESTION 6: TEACHING WRITING. Another fairly tough one. I had no problem figuring out what I wanted the kid to work on, and I had a strategy for how to teach it, but in retrospect, I wonder if I communicated that strategy well enough, or if it was too old-school a strategy. Borderline, but probably falling against me.

Survey said: Tank. Lowest score on the whole test. Oh well.

On the whole: I feel rock-solid about the first three. There's a chance that I totally tanked on #4, because I may not have known what the hell I was talking about--I basically just did some internet research and tried to show that research. #5 and #6 I'm less sure about.

This adds up to 40% of my overall score (6.67% each). My portfolio counts for the other 60%. I think my portfolio--which so dominated my life until March--was strong enough that, when combined with what I think will be solid scores on #s 1-3, will be enough that I won't have to bother with a retake. Nevertheless, your prayers and good vibes are appreciated.

Survey said: My portfolio, much to my surprise, was far, far weaker than my test scores. So I don't have to bother with a retake, but for exactly the opposite reason than the one I thought back in June. Rather than riding the portfolio to certification, I overcame the portfolio to get certification.

As confused as I am, I have no choice but to put this to bed since there is no feedback beyond the score. I'll happily take the extra money that comes with it. And I'm proud of the fact that I did it in one year, when it takes a lot of people more than one.

Name Change

Henceforward, you may call me NBCTRP.

National Board Certified TeacherRefPoet.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Vaseline?

Disturbing search that led some poor soul here:

"dancing how not to get sore while grinding"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cute baseball story

Don Carman, a ho-hum pitcher for the Phillies, Reds, and Rangers from a few years back, encountered a box of uncharacteristically-neglected fan mail from 15 years ago in his garage.

So he signed and answered the autograph requests. The 9- and 10-year-olds who asked for autographs are getting them at 24 and 25.

One of them wrote this cool piece for Slate.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Good God!

Did I just see yet ANOTHER commercial with Peyton Manning in it?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Student Blooper du jour

"Siddhartha should be read in high school classes today because it teaches students how to correctly practice the art of love."

I thought that was what condom day was for...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Eleven and a half years later...

I just paid off the last bit of my student loan from my abortive attempt at an MFA.