Sunday, October 29, 2006
It's only 4:22 right now, but it should be 5:22. Only slightly over three hours to go and I'll have earned my $300 and I can go home. I love a job that pays me to watch movies and eat chocolate covered espresso beans. And blog, of course. I think I'll go do some stargazing now. It's a beautiful night.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Jen's getting some time away from home this weekend. Last night she went out with friends, and today she's out shopping with her mom. Willow and I are hanging out at home, playing board games and eating cookies. Willow has a fever, but seems to have improved over last night.
Later, I get to earn some extra money by going to work and staying there, awake, all night. A weekend group renting the site is paying me $30 an hour to be a night supervisor. I think the teachers are worried that their high school students will try to sneak out and make mischief. My job: catch them and send them back to bed. I might blog about how things are progressing sometime in the middle of the night. We'll see...
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Happy anniversary to us! Here's to many more to come.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I'm doing something a bit different this week. Instead of having a field class and teaching natural science, I'm the "hub host." A hub host is in charge of the day to day running of the camp - getting the kids in to meals, coordinating other activities with campers, cabin leaders, and classroom teachers, as well as other staff members, and being in the hub (camp office) so kids who are sick, injured, in trouble, or just plain clueless, can get the help they need.
Fortunately, I picked a great week to try something new - all of the kids, cabin leaders, and teachers are first class, making my job quite easy. Right now the kids are out on the trails and camp is quiet. A doe, with faun in tow, just passed through the amphitheater area. Yellow leaves are falling and it's quiet enough to hear them hit the ground.
Last night I got to hear a large group of coyotes yipping it up quite close to camp. I don't hear them often, so I'm always glad when I hear them. They almost sound like a loud group of people if one isn't listening carefully.
I just picked some Madrone berries too. I'll probably give them to Alex, since he's mired down in the middle of an Ohlone Indian project and the Ohlone ate the berries.
The ravens are croaking up in a nearby tree too. Very nice.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
With this in mind, I took a group of students into a short tunnel that leads away from Lake Ranch Reservoir - just for old times sake, and because they asked to go in. It's a lot harder to walk stooped over than it was when I was a kid, and the tunnel led to a drop off, so we had to turn around and go back. Still, it was fun. My job keeps me young.
The kids this week were probably the best informed of any of the groups I've led in the last two years. This meant that the "lesson" part of each class was short, and the experiential part was extended. The discussions went deeper and exploration time was longer. I suppose walking through drainage tunnels counts and learning about watersheds and water supplies, which are things we're supposed to teach. Maybe I'll do things like that more often.
Speaking of doing things more often, I ended up back at the children's museum today so I could borrow back my tarantula and scorpion. The girls went with me and had a great time until it became evident to them that we were about to leave. Willow had quite a meltdown at that point, but with a little help from one of the staff members I was able to get the arachnids and the girls back to the car.
A few hours later I put just about all of my animals in the car and took them all to Livermore for a Halloween party. We all had a great time, and the $150 I got paid for the trip definitely made it worth my while. While there I noticed that once again there were baby cockroaches in the cockroach cage - the day after I'd picked out all of the babies from last week.
Does anybody want some cockroaches?
Monday, October 16, 2006
Saturday I did another birthday party. Sunday I supervised the work crew at our school.
I need to recover from my weekend.
This week has started well. The weather is cloudy and cool. The kids are brilliant. Jen and Willow dropped in at lunch to say hi, which was a pleasant surprise. The Rattlesnake is back in its usual place, and I found the first Ensatina of the season. One of the kids decided that his camp name is going to be Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. I like that.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Lots of additional photos can be found on Flickr.
Today we had a small birthday party for Alex over at Nickel City. The kids loved it. The adults were a little exasperated by the rather disorganized staff. The key to the storage room where the beverages were kept had left the building in the pocket of a homeward-bound employee who had to be called back to work so the kids could have drinks.
I'm sure all of this is damn boring except to members of our immediate family. Sorry.
In slightly more universal news. Tower Records has been sold and is being liquidated. I spent a lot of time during my childhood taking the bus there to buy records, and more time during my young adult life working there for very little pay. I could probably write a book on my experiences there. The magazines, movies, and music that came home with me while I was a Tower employee (great employee discount and free video rentals - almost making up for the miserable little paychecks) played a great part in shaping my current interests. I went down to the nearest Tower earlier this evening to see if there was a sale on yet. There was, but so far the cds and dvds are only 10% off, with books 20% off and magazines 30% off. The woman behind the register told me that they'll be open for two more months. I think I'll wait for the prices to plummet further. So, instead of buying anything at Tower, I went to another nearby cd store where I ran into a guy who recognized me from when I worked at Tower. He was a tall, sort of crazy looking guy with a big beard and a handful of heavy metal cds who said he'd worked in the record department (I was over in books) at the same time I'd been there. I've just now remembered (I think) that he was clean shaven when he worked there. This was the kind of thing that happened to people who started working at Tower. They grew beards, stopped cutting their hair, adorned themselves with piercings and tattoos, and eventually just dropped out of sight, probably because their parents finally kicked them out and they had to go find real jobs or live on the street. This particular guy looked like one of the latter.
Friday, October 06, 2006
This was also the first week this season during which no snakes were found. I did come across a few scorpions, including one missing a claw, and a caddisfly larva that had made its home inside a little piece of stick.
On Tuesday night I went up to San Francisco to see Celtic Frost. Read more about it here. Read Umlaut's report here.
In the car, I've been listening to the Cowboy Junkies. It's just the time of year when their music meshes well with everything.
Tomorrow, Jen and I are going to her sister's wedding, which is being held in the same place that an old friend of mine got married a decade or so ago on Halloween.
Monday, October 02, 2006
I finally found out more information about these spiders! I happened to flick through a bug book somebody left in the staff room at work. On the page with the California Ebony Tarantula (the big, brown, hairy tarantulas one often sees out and about this time of year) there was a passing mention of something called a Calisoga Spider. Sure enough, armed with the name and looking online, I found out that these spiders, which go by the common name Funnel Web Tarantulas, aren't actually true tarantulas at all. Just tarantula-like. This solved a little mystery for me. It's funny that the article I found advises people not to pick them up - you can pick them up if you do it really carefully. The one in the photo trying to use my radio only tried to bite me once. It missed. Another time I had one in my hand and it got startled by the kids all straining to see it. It lunged at my palm with fangs extended but stopped short of biting me. Bluff. I'm not sure if they're all bluffers or if I just got lucky with that particular individual.
Today's other animal story involves a pigeon that has moved into the staff room. It first tried roosting in the staff storage room we refer to as "the nook," but I evicted it by carrying outside the storage box it was perched on. Later, it walked back in and is now dozing on top of some shelves. It shows no inclination to leave. Judging by the bands on its legs, I think it was a captive pigeon. It sure doesn't seem to mind people...