Life Update

Whew. Okay, I have now gone through my junior high yearbooks and will soon have a post or two on that topic. Several memories, some forgotten mysteries, and general strangeness. More on that to come. I still have four high school band yearbooks (yes, the band had its own yearbook) and my one surviving yearbrickbook from my freshman year, but I won’t wait on those books- they will be a post or two all by themselves.

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So what have I been up to?  More of the same, really.  A couple days a week are dedicated to just looking at and fixing photos online, usually adjusting the color when they are too blue or brightening dim or dark photos.  I also report photo problems I cannot fix like photos taken at bad angles or ones so dark (or bright) that they can’t be properly fixed.  The other days I am still out in the field taking pictures at my own stores (soon to be given away so I can be free to fly out at any time) or helping another photographer who has been inundated as of late.  Just Tuesday, she did over 50 cars with the assistance of the co-owner.  She wants to give up some of the stores, but the owners like her too much apparently- for good reason as she is a very good photographer.

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Besides that I have been rehearsing for Easter choir.  I finally got the music I need to practice at home.  For some reason they thought it would be a great idea to distribute the private link to the music over facebook instead of just emailing it to everyone, so when I realized an email was not forthcoming, I had to finally ask someone in the choir for the music.  No, not everyone uses facebook and I have no intentions of ever signing up, especially after hearing about what’s happening with Myspace and a company called Infochimps right now.

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As for now, it’s a weekend of rest.  Two days off from work, no choir until next week, and no 4th/5th grade ministry.  I do enjoy what I do most of the time (even if fixing photos is a bit tedious), but it’s nice to have a rest now and then.

As the basketball turns

An interesting story hit the Christian school news recently about one girls high school team that beat another in basketball 100-0.  No, that’s not a typo.  There has been much drama about it since Christians are of course supposed to reflect Christ and show Christ-like behavior at all times.  The principal of the winning school apparently felt that the team did not in this extremely lopsided victory and made a formal apology to the other school.  Their school after all had a winning team and the other one hadn’t won a game in the last four seasons.  The coach of the team felt the apology was in error and respectfully disagreed with it.  Shortly after, he was fired.  Just from this, it may seem that the coach was in the wrong and should have been fired, but from here it just gets interesting.  The coach had apparently just a few years ago led this school from lopsided losses to their current winning team.  Also, according to the players they did not try their best on purpose: missing shots, not taking some shots, and generally not playing hard once they racked up 25 points.  From their testimony there was really not much more they could have done as the other coach wasn’t giving up and it would be silly for the winning team to just up and call the game just because they were winning so badly.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Read the articles and let me know what you think.

Original article (mistitled- the principal was the apologetic one)

Article about the coach being fired

Testimony from the coach and players

Please vote, too.  Voting is good.  After all, voting is what finally removed our disgrace of a governor tonight:

Should coach Grimes have been fired?

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(Sorry for the misalignment of the question vs. the options.  I don’t know how to fix this, though I did try in the templates section)

That theatre bug

Reading the post on Jamiahsh’s blog about his favorite things, I started to respond to his post then realized I probably had enough information for my own post, so here goes.  While I was in a school play when I was 7 and in the chorus of one when I was 10, theatre didn’t really enter my vocabulary until I was 16, before my senior year in high school.  Here are some of my milestones and interests in this regard:

Cheaper by the Dozen [note: link is not my production] (yes, it was a book, play, and movie before Steve Martin came along…) was a play my church at the time did as a student show.  I got to play the role of a 10-year old (I was 16 at the time, but then none of us were younger than high school) and had such a blast at it I would delve into theatre big time after this.

Scapino! was the first show I acted in in high school.  I played the part of Argante.  Very fun, and probably the most interesting audition I had ever.  This included theatre games and improv in addition to a little singing and script reading.

South Pacific was another high school show I didn’t try out for since it was a musical (hadn’t been bitten by that particular bug yet), but it was the first and only show I ever played in the pit orchestra.  I used to play trumpet but I wasn’t very good at it.  I never could get past moving my jaw as I played, a big no-no in technique.

Bishop of Aahs was written in-house (in-church I guess) as a parody of, you guessed it, Wizard of Oz.  This was the second show I did at my church and the second show that opened new doors for me, this time into musical theatre.  I played one of several “munchkins” (teenage kids).  Unfortunately that’s about all I remember of it.  Of course we sang munchkin songs with new lyrics.  Of course I started trying out for musicals after this.

Finian’s Rainbow was the first community theatre show I ever performed in.  Well, it was youth community theatre and not really a very well-run group (though it still exists today).  Anyway I was just in the chorus for this one, but hey, chorus members are people too!  After this show I would start private vocal lessons.

Phantom of the Opera was a show I have never been in, though I did do a different Phantom about 12 years ago.  Rather, this was the first professional musical I heard on CD, and later saw in Chicago.  This would be the only musical I listened to for awhile, though I did eventually broaden my horizons first with other Andrew Lloyd Webber shows including the dreadful Aspects of Love, and later with other shows.  Les Miserables would become my new favorite a few years later.  I still want to be in that show- come on, release the amateur rights already!

Speaking of Les Miz, it was the first and only show I ever auditioned for professionally.  They never called me…

Grease was a show I was in twice and didn’t perform even once.  Both times the rights were pulled when the tour came to town.  If you ask me, the second time the group should have done it anyway- pulling the rights is just evil.  Once give, the publisher shouldn’t be able to go back on it.  The first time they lost the rights immediately and so were able to do another show with the cast they had (Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?).  This became the first show I had a solo song in.  I was never told what role I had in Grease, though a friend tells me it was a combination of the Teen Angel and another role.  The second time I was actually asked to be in the show and was given the role of Roger.  We made it about halfway through rehearsing before we lost the rights.

Little Shop of Horrors… Okay, let’s not talk about this one.

Oliver! was a show I had a huge interest in at one time (I still have multiple CDs of this show).  I did try out for it a couple of times previously, but just a couple of years ago it became the first show I ever had a true lead in.  I was offered the role of Fagin, and according to several people I did an outstanding job at it.  Life has kept me from community theatre since, but I have been doing drama at my church so it hasn’t been all bad.  Next show…?  I would like to do Secret Garden I think, but who knows what the future will bring?

Graduation part 1

Okay, thanks to today this will be a two-part post.  See my next post for the reason. 🙂 Yesterday I had the privilege of attending my nephew’s high school graduation.  He actually attended two of the same schools as I did growing up.  One of those schools I have subbed at several times.  The other one was the high school.

We arrived at my brother’s house shortly before 11AM.  We then waited for the other invited guests to arrive, Alex’s grandparents (mother’s side) and half-brother.  It’s a sad thing to mention that Alex’s mother died when he was just six.  His mother’s other son was rejected by his father (not my brother) and so was raised by his grandfather instead.  There were other issues at the time, but it would be inappropriate for me to mention them here as they are private family issues that have since been resolved.  So, there were seven of us in total not including Alex.  These days, at most graduations it is unusual to get more than four tickets.  I suppose since they used an auditorium in addition to the gym there was more room for guests.

So, at about 11:20 or so we were off, with a short stop at my home to put some ribs in the oven because my brother’s oven took just this time to stop working.  Ours is electric and so was pretty safe to use unoccupied for a couple of hours.  When we arrived the entire front parking lot was filled of course, as by now it was 11:45, just 15 minutes until commencement began.  There were people parking across the street and down one of the connecting streets.  Fortunately for us not everyone knew about the lot behind the school, where the faculty parks (the front lot is student parking and, if they still use it, a practice “field” for the marching band in the fall).  We found a few spots still open and we were set.  We got out of the car and headed in.  Nine minutes to go.  We headed right into the gym, the three women (my mother, Alex’s grandmother, and his Aunt) heading for the auditorium instead.  Actually, my mother had been dropped off and headed immediately in.  The other two unfortunately had to wait since the graduates were now lined up in the hall.  We just made it.  They were about to close the gym doors.  We went in, then waited by the entrance for the procession.  At noon they started coming in- some teachers in black gowns first, followed by a few students in yellow gowns I later found out were not part of the graduating class, just there to take charge of getting the rows of students standing up and lining up in turn.  They were probably juniors.  Behind them were the graduates in purple gowns.  They headed up the aisle, passing between the teachers who had positioned themselves every few rows on either side.  They took their places starting in the front and working their way back, 24 chairs at a time, 21 rows.  Well over 400 students (many seats were taken by the teachers or yellow-gowns).  Behind all of them were several rows of chairs for older guests.  To the sides- bleachers.  Once my nephew passed, we started to work our way to the bleachers, where we found some seats about 10 rows up.  It was pretty tight.  Unfortunately, throughout the time I kneed the one in front of me a few times…

Once the graduates were seated, the speeches started.  One teacher tried to entertain us with his speech, starting with, “This entire speech is plaigiarized…”.  The principal had a speech about how he started with the current class four years ago, and then some standard words of inspiration for the young adults.  The valedictorian’s speech was a pretty normal well-prepared speech, and then another student, a cancer survivor (one of two in the graduating class 😮 ) performed a song he wrote on the piano/singing.  He received a standing ovation.  Finally, it was time for the long, drawn out process of the students coming forward to receive their diplomas.  As their names were called off one by one, they showed a picture (of most) on the overhead screen.  There were a couple of slipups, and I think there was a slide accidentally left in of a student who was not there for whatever reason.  At first, people applauded after hearing their young one’s (or sibling’s) name, but that turned into just a single clap.  I think the graduates got us started on that, I’m not sure.  Several shouted out or whistled.  One (only one thankfully) had an air horn.  My nephew had his turn, as did a former neighbor I remember- I had forgotten their youngest was Alex’s age.  As they got to “P” I noticed there were seven Patels, a very common last name for Indian families.  They were probably all unrelated too.  I’m sure it means something, but I’m too lazy to look it up.

A final congratulation when they were all finished, and then we were done.  We were supposed to wait until all the now-former students recessed before getting up, but that didn’t quite work out.  Once half had left, the bleachers started emptying.  We met up with Alex and the three women outside, a few (more) pictures were taken, and then we left.  Alex’s brother hopped into the car with him, and the rest of us got in our vehicles in back.  When we got to the front of the building, we were just in time to see Alex peeling out in front of the school by a police officer.  Nice.  The car had no plates either…  Should have meant problems for him, but the police were too busy with the traffic.  Lucky him.

Well, we finally got back, my brother fed us ribs (which we had picked up, now done cooking), pheasant, venison, corn, and some sides.  We talked a little, the relatives left, then I left.  Day over.  I should have gotten to this blog yesterday but somehow never got around to it.  Now, you will have to wait until tomorrow for part two which should have come today..

More humor

Again, not by me.

EDUCATION HUMOR– WORST ANALOGIES USED IN ESSAYS
These are the winners of the “worst analogies ever written in a high school essay” contest

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes…

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:\flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

I feel stupid…

Well, today I was a floater at a middle school, meaning that I would sub for different teachers throughout the day as they went to meetings.  When I arrived they gave me a list.  Four classes.  Were they serious?  I thought I had it fairly easy yesterday with five classes (in middle school six is typical, with a planning period, team meeting- subs not invited, and lunch).  In this district one period is homeroom, making a total of ten periods of which a sub usually works seven when homeroom is added in.  This meant that I had three extra periods off!  A half-day of work for a full day’s pay!  Then again, this is me we’re talking about.  I didn’t feel quite right about this so I asked at the office a few times if I was needed elsewhere during these breaks.  They didn’t have anything as was typical, so it would seem that I would get all the time off after all.  However, in the afternoon the teacher I was subbing for for 7th and 10th periods decided she could use me after all to help out while she tried to get some other work done.  I stress tried because in fact since she was in the room her students still came up to her and asked questions.  By the way, they were doing research in the LMC so I mostly babysat as I couldn’t answer a lot of the questions since I didn’t know all the expectations of the project.  Still not bad- a very easy day.

Now, some may think the title of this post applies to the above paragraph since I asked for extra work instead of just saying nothing and sitting in the lounge all day.  Well, it always pays to not get on their bad side- I already don’t take TA positions which pay about $30 less per day- and besides, I would have missed the situation I am about to write on. 🙂  Well, what happened was during one of the periods a couple of students came in who weren’t a part of the class.  Remember, this was the LMC and not a classroom.  That would be very strange if random students just came into a classroom where they were not a part of the class…  Anyway, I wasn’t aware of this at first and so questioned them when I saw they were not doing the research with the rest of the class.  They told me they were here while their class was on a field trip.  Were they being punished?  Nope.  They were seventh graders in an eighth grade math class, and all the eighth grade was on the field trip.  Now I thought I was pretty good at math being in algebra in eighth grade, but here they were, two seventh graders in the eighth grade class.  And to make matters worse, this seemed to be the top eighth grade math course, algebra 2.  That’s right, 2.  I didn’t take algebra 2 until my sophomore year (they split the two courses with geometry in the middle, which I took as a freshman).  These two seventh graders were two years ahead of where I was when I was in middle school.  They expect to be bused to high school next year for math as they apparently were bused to the middle school when they were in 5th grade…  I guess if this keeps up they will be taking calculus in their junior year instead of in college, unless they bring themselves even further ahead in the next three years.  Definitely two top engineers in the making.

Wake up sleeping student and get sued?

Apparently parents of a high school student are considering just that after a teacher woke up a student by slapping her hand on the student’s desk.  According to their claim he suffered hearing loss as his ear was on the desk at the time and the sudden sound ruptured his eardrum.  If this is true, then I fully understand the parents’ concern, but something doesn’t seem quite right here.  From the article:

Barry said the boy’s ear hurt instantly after Nadeau hit his desk.

“He woke up and immediately felt pain in his ear,” Barry said. “I think he was so taken aback that he didn’t say anything at the time.”

The next day, Vinicios’ parents took him to the hospital after he complained of hearing loss and they discovered a bloody fluid on his pillow.

If his eardrum burst as they say, wouldn’t he have been in so much pain he would have said something?  Screamed out in pain?  Immediately gone to the nurse? I just don’t know…

Sleepy Student Claims Teacher’s Wake-Up Slam Caused Hearing Loss