Apr 22, 2009

April 22, 2009

No pointless meetings this morning. I went to the meeting places, but there really is nothing we needed to meet for. I find most meetings to be stupid and unproductive. We meet just to justify that we all "met"....

Brought 3 baby rats to school today, because my monitor lizard "Bennie" was needing some food. These are rats raised by my rat, so I really didn't want to watch the killing, nor did I want them all to die. So I gave the pick of the little to some little kid with a criminal record, in order to give him a pet to bond with. The student, loved the baby rat, and I am confident that he will give him a good home. The other two rats got fed to the lizard, which is a big hungry "Savannah Monitor Lizard" from north Africa. This lizard is big and quite mean. I accepted it for free because it's owners were moving and appeared to be sick of it. Try owning a 5 pound lizard that hates all humanity, but requires poor live rats every two days for sustanance. Every time I try to handle him he goes ballistic and we have a major battle before I can subdue him. I just leave the lizard "Benny" alone. I hope I can find him a new home. I would rather have a nice python to occupy his cage, but as we all know. The lizard needs a new good home first. My students get a charge out of "Benny" the nasty lizard. I am tired of his crap, maybe I'll just make him a house pet in my house. Fifteen years ago, I had another surly lizard just like Bennie, like Bennie he was mean, but he was toilet trained. I put a piece of newspaper by my toilet and the lizard went to the same spot every time. He hated us, but he traveled around the house at will and was a pretty good mouse chaser.

After school, I slept for two hours then went to watch the JV Baseball game. I haven't seen a baseball game since I used to watch the Texas Rangers many years ago. It sure was fun watching kids play the game, and the seats were much better. Our school had a 3 run lead, when I left it; I was on my bicycle with shorts and a t-shirt when a cold front moved in. I know I discuss the weather here alot, but it is amazing. We rarely have storms and lightning like Texas, but the weather frequently changes from warm to cold. Today was 75 degrees, tomorrow will be in the 30's.

I spent the rest of the evening with the grill loaded with hot dogs, plaintains, and an open can of chile. I discovered that if you bake cheap hot dogs, then put chili on them, you can't tell that you are eating an inferior hot dog. I can buy an 8 pack of the cheap brand for 1.50, where the good brand is nearly 5 dollars. Rather than grilling for 15 minutes that I do with the good hotdogs, I bake the cheap ones for 45 minutes, so all the cartilage, intestine rinds, chicken feet, and whatnot, seem to render out to make some pretty good meat. But be sure to put chili on them to replace the meat that they lack. Then serve with mustard, cheese, and tabasco, in order to kill that "chittlin'" flavor. We eat the heck out of grilled hotdogs this way.

Spent the rest of the evening playing with Freddy, and he caught the ball a few times before acting like the big fat guy that no one wants to pick to be on his team, back in elementary school.

April 21, 2009

After eating a nice dinner of funky greens, basmanti rice, and swordfish, I polished it all off with a yummy desert of chopped fresh stawberries and canned condensed milk with special dark sugar from Maui (Sugar in the Raw). This was exceptional. Strawberries are in season now, so I plan to eat a lot of them until California's strawberry crop slows down. Damn I feel healthy after this dinner!

Freddy is getting the hang of catching the tennis ball, he really needs exercise because his rottweiler half is prone to lethergy. This is what makes Freddy and I such a team. His Aussie Shepherd half is inquisitive, bright, and creative. Freddy is also much the non-violent Buddhist. But he also has big muscles, and likes to do the Rotty thing to some extent, and tears up the yard when he feels negected. He is good for running for the ball about 7 or 8 throws. Then he pants profusely until i worry about him having a coronary at age 1.
I'll get both our asses in shape before this summer, I'm already riding the bicycle, and plan to teach him to ride with me on a leash. We both need this. But it is cool to lay around and watch TV all day with Freddy on Sundays, he is a low maintainence dog in the "need to be exercized" catagory.

Apr 19, 2009

April 19, 2009

(disclaimer: this picture is not me but the bike is simular)

4:00 A.M. Yes I woke up early this morning. Turns out the corned beef/cabbage I made last night put me to sleep and 9:00 P.M..

Friday afternoon was up to 55 degrees and sunny. I brought out the dirt bike and started her up for the first time in two weeks. The bike started on the second kick and purred like a lion. I tested her out in my back yard and within 5 minutes I had a small practice track.

After my backyard dirt bike riding adventure, I proceeded to clean the back yard up. The yard is about 80 yards long and 40 yards wide. The far back yard is overgrown with brush and low hanging tree branches, and the previous owners left a cornucopia of trash, rotton wood, and many dog toys. All this crap was hidden under the snow from when we first moved here. I piled up much of the wood and tree branches and made a medium sized bon fire. With the radio blaring out ancient hits from Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin (we have a heck of an oldies station up here), and an excellent view of the sun setting over the top of the not-so-distant "Wellsville" mountain range, combined with the company of "Freddy" the wonder dog, it was an incredible evening. Later that night and a few gin and tonics later, we proceded to slowly cook the best steaks I could find, which I bought earlier at the local Mexican grocery store. The butcher (who is also teaching me Spanish), seasoned the steaks personally. The thin cut, seasoned Mexican steaks, were better than the finest Ribeyes and T-bones. Mexicans know how to cut and season steak! After stoking the fire for 5 hours or more, we finally got most of the wood burned, and the yard is much improved. Freddy and I came inside long after midnight, smelling of smoke, and grilled meat.

Saturday, April 19th; I woke up at 7 AM, woke my son, who had an appointment for Saturday School, and cooked eggs, homemade hashbrowns, toast, and picante sauce. I read the online news for 30 minutes, and went back for another round of well needed sleep.

2PM: Chopped up some onion, cabbage, potato, threw it all in the crockpot with a 2 lb. corned beef brisket and a few seasonings. Turned the pot on high. Then proceeded to assemble the trailer hitch motorcycle I bought last month. After an hour of wrenching and pounding the sections together, I managed to get the thing together. Now I can attach my motorcycle onto the back of my truck, the only problem will be, trying to ramp the bike up high onto the carrier without any help. I really can't imagine doing this alone, since the ramp is steep and the 4 wheel drive F-250 sits up pretty high. It sure would suck being alone in the mountains and having no one to help load this heavy dirt bike. I might have to get a trailer after all. Bummer.

Read a few chapters of James Michener's "Alaska" which is an excellent novel of historical fiction. I was checking my old phone messages and accidently called my friend Lynette, whom I haven't heard from in a while. Nice to hear she's happy and doing well. By this time I was getting quite hungry, since the smell of corned beef and cabbage was wafting throughout the entire house and front porch. While eating the victuals, I was watching people actually going to the Thai restaurant across the street, I couldn't help feel a bit sorry for them, because this corned beef and cabbage is far superior to any Thai food I've ever eaten over there.

By 8 PM I was full and quickly falling asleep, it seems that after 5 days of hard teaching, it takes a couple days to catch up on sleep, so I crashed until 4 AM this morning. Now its after 5 and I am totally awake and ready for todays adventures, whatever they turn out to be.

Apr 17, 2009

April 17th, 2009

Friday! Getting back after spring break is always a bitch. Took two days to return to the "up at 6:00 AM" schedule. My students were obnoxious, and I was not too much fun as a teacher. Two of my students were particularly rotten on Monday and Tuesday, so Wednesday; I took them to the mean ceramic's teacher and let him torture them by making new clay from old clay scraps. I'll spare you the details, but the kids came out tired and filthy after the experience. On Thursday the two students were angels.
Combine the above with the fact that it is Income Tax week, and the cold wet storm that raged for 4 days dumping snow and cold rain daily, and the week was pretty "F'D up". Since my back yard was a cold muddy, snowy, mess; poor Freddy was black with mud and couldn't just come inside. We would leave Freddy in the utility room for several hours to dry out every afternoon, before I could brush the mud off of him. Freddy, as you know, is a very intelligent and emotional dog. When left in the utility room he takes it personal and gets all "butt-hurt" about it. I tryed to explain that he is too muddy, but he's still a good dog; however: he still feels like he did something wrong no matter how nice I am.

Thursday was quite a day. I woke up to find out the IRS rejected my tax return, after fixing the error, I learned that I owe $900 in income tax! So I rode my bike to school in the cold rain, lamenting the fact that I would have to make payments to the IRS. Got to school and realized I left my keys at home. I got the janitor to let me in my classroom, thankfully; the kids were well behaved. Since it was a casting day, I had to bust my ass casting 6 molds after school. Then I would have to go to an awards ceremony at 6:00 PM over in Brigham City 30 miles away that evening. I rode my bicycle home in the rainy 35 degree weather, only to discover that I had no keys, so I decided to wait for Logan in the truck camper. Of course the camper was locked (I never lock the camper), so I had to try to find Logan at the school. By the time I got home at 4:00 PM, I crashed for an hour before heading to Brigham city (SHIT! WHAT A DAY!).

I rode with the photo teacher and a few students, up the winding "Sardine Canyon" and made it to the Brigham City museum, in time to be stuck there with nothing to do for 30 minutes before the ceremony even started. After the awards were passed around (my students took first place!), the photo teacher dragged us all to some crappy looking, Mormon owned, Mexican food place.

By this time, all I wanted to do was go home, yet I got to spend an hour and a half, hanging out with the photo teacher and six of his pretentious students, all who thought they were little movers and shakers of the Art world, just because they can manage to click a shutter of a camera. I got stuck sitting across from an anorexic girl who ate nothing but put out negative vibes of tragic angst. The kid beside me looked as if suicide was all he thought about.

Actually the Chinese-American kid, next to "Miss Anorexia", was funny as hell, and the food was surprising good. The walls of the restaurant, were covered with bad Spanish and Mexican art from the 50's, with loads of black velvet and bullfighting scenes. The waitress was quite a charactor with full face paint and surly attitude. She was an absolute riot, cussing at the cook, while flirting with me and the other teacher. For the first time today, I started to lighten up and have some fun.

The drive back through the canyon, seeing the snowy mountains, shrouded with clouds that reflected the light from the distant Logan Metro area, was spectacular.

By the time I got home at 9:30 PM, I was too tired to move. I sat on the front porch with my dog and drank a beer in the cold, wet, night; thinking about how great this busy day turned out to be.

Apr 13, 2009

April 13th, 2009

Sorry to have let this blog lapse, it was supposed to be a daily, but this is my busiest time of year now that Spring is finally here. Not sure how much writing I'll do between now and June, this is supposed to be fun, but lately it feels like a burden or obligation. To anyone who still checks this page daily, just stop by every couple weeks or so, if anything eventful happens, I'll post it on here. I plan to resume the daily blog once June gets here. (39 more class days!).

Last week was spring break. The weather was cold until the latter part of last week, when we finally reached the upper 50's. This allowed me to sit outside and read, which is my favorite thing to do. I read a Grisham novel, and an excellent real life book about someone who survived 76 days floating in a tiny two man life raft across the Atlantic. Then I started rereading the James Michener book "Alaska". Logan and I camped out in Providence Canyon, but really couldn't go over 5700 ft in altitude, due to the huge amount of snow up there. It was still fun making camp, cleaning up after the last campers, who left trash, shell casings, and many live bullets laying around (imagine leaving a live bullet next to a campfire?). The temperature dropped fast after sundown to well below freezing, and Logan (who only brought one blanket) wound up having to sleep in the camper with me. We were cramped but warm, since two grown men and a dog, puts off a substantial amount of heat. This was the first time camping in the Hell Bitch, so I learned a little about what to bring and leave once I start camping on a regular basis.
Once back home, I got the now snowless yard cleaned up, did work on the truck, motorcycle, camper, and managed to cook some interesting meals every night. Steak Milanese with fried plantains, comes to mind. Also cooked fried chicken, ribeye steaks, grilled salmon, nice to have time to do all this.

Apr 3, 2009

March 28th thru April 2nd

Saturday the 29th was a nice day. Sun all day long with warm California winds, it made it all the way up to 49 degrees today! I did some grocery shopping and accidently bought a small bottle of tequila since the day felt like I was south of the border. Playing Mexican music inside the kitchen and outside the truck camper, I proceded to cook a Mexican stew while cleaning and doing some outside work on the truck. After 3 or 4 shots of tequila/lime and salt, my work on the truck slowed down significally. I brought out my two antiquated camper jacks from the garage (each one weighing 75 lbs) and proceded to slowly wench up the camper from the bed of the truck. Then I spent a very long time trying to figure out how the metal brackets I found would fit on the truck frame in order to hold the camper tightly onto the truck. Turns out that I would have to completely remove the camper from the truck in order to do this and while I was pondering a better way to achieve this it started pissing down snow, the temperature fell, and my friend Chuck came over, with his wife "Missy" and two dogs. The truck operation would have to wait.
Chuck was on his way to Redlodge, Montana, which is amazing since we just came back from there two months before, but as we know, Chuck loves the Rocky Mountains, and spends all his off work time touring them. I love the Rockies also, but feel I have enough of the Rockies in my own backyard, so feel little need to drive thousands of miles to see the same thing. The local "Wasatch Range" is just as beautiful to me as the Grand Tetons, only less commercial.
We partied all night and jammed out with Logan playing the Bass and/or keyboards, Chuck on indian flute, and I on guitar and vocals. We had fun.

Chuck and crew left promptly the next morning, Logan and I took it easy mainly sleeping the rest of the afternoon.

It snowed like hell all Saturday night and Sunday. Sunday was in the high 20's, which allowed it the snow to stick to the ground. Sunday night it snowed and the truck was stuck in the driveway, so I had to walk to work on Monday morning. Snowed Tuesday and Wednesday as well. This place has been quite the frickin "Winter Wonderland" lately. Damn, I thought it was Spring a couple weeks ago.
This is the week before our "Spring Break" up here and the students can't seem to keep there mind on school work. The ones that actually show up to class need some extra threatening in order to enable them to work on their jewelry.

Tuesday, I gathered nine of my student's best examples of high school jewelry projects, and had it all registered into the Brigham City High School Art show. I had a strong collection and kept my fingers crossed for success. Today I found out that ALL 9 PIECES WERE JURIED INTO THE SHOW! AND THAT 3 OF MY STUDENTS ACTUALLY PLACED! One of my students took First Place in three dimensional Art (Sculpture and Jewelry), and his other piece won "honorable mention". Another one of my students won "Honorable Mention" as well.
The Logan High School Art department as a whole had a really strong showing, easily kicking the ass's of the other schools involved. I am so proud of my kids.

Today, I found out that I was scheduled to return next year as an Art Teacher for this very fine school (although they cut 12 teaching positions due to the economy), it seems that our department is strong enough to make it through all the cuts!

I took the truck out this afternoon with the dog, paid all my bills, paid the temporary motorcycle loan, bought some more truck camping supplies like 5 gallon water bottles, kerosene lamps, propane, kerosene, ect.. and spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the Hell Bitch (my truck camper) with Freddy (my dog). We had a great time! Tomorrow we are going on a field trip to the Weber State College, to see the High School Art Exhibit there, in which a couple of my students have work on display in.

After tomorrow, I have a week off. Hopefully the weather will be kind enough to allow me to do some camping and dirtbike riding.