Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nothing truly illustrates the true spirit of Thanksgiving as it is celebrated in the 21st century like the turducken - a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Can't choose which one you like best? This is Amuuricuh dammit!! Eat 'em all!

A little excessive, don't you think? Of course, so is every other popular holiday in this country.

I'm waiting for the day when other examples of overconsumptive indecision start flooding the market. What about a mosedummer? For the uninitiated, that's a motorcycle stuffed inside a sedan stuffed inside a hummer. Maybe you'd like to live in a mohousion (a mobile home stuffed inside a house stuffed inside a mansion)?

Actually, come to think about it. I do own a cd stuffed inside a record. A band called Contrastate is responsible. Funny thing though- they're not even from the U.S. The sickness is spreading!

Happy Thanksgiving to those out there who are thankful for something real.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I finally saw a Sharp-tailed snake in the wild. It happened while visiting friends up the peninsula. Unfortunately, some other animal had seen it first, eaten it, and regurgitated it. There was no head or tail in what remained of the little critter, but my friend who'd discovered it had seen a more complete specimen (also dead) recently, and after looking at pictures, confirmed that it was indeed a Sharp-tailed snake.

Maybe next time I'll actually see a whole one. Perhaps it will even be alive.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Apparently, comet Holmes now has a diameter larger than the sun. Of course, most of it is just an expanding cloud of dust - all size and no substance. I could make a joke or two here, but won't. I watched this faintly luminescent dust through a telescope again this week, while ensuring that nearly two hundred private school kids got to do the same. This reduces the telescope experience to a semi-efficient assembly line of, "don't touch the telescope - yeah, that's what you're supposed to be looking at - I know it looks like fog - please sit over there - I said 'quietly'." Everybody got to see it though. This was at the start of an epic 17 hour shift, which culminated in me once again getting observed by my professor (they actually refer to the teachers in this particular credential program by some sort of acronym that has long since slipped my mind - I think I'm acronym impaired or something...) as I taught a lesson. This time she wanted to see a reading lesson, so I wrote something and made some kids read it. Then, being evil, I made them answer questions about it, formulate a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and then report on their findings. And yes, I found a snake during the lesson too. It's what I do. My professor liked what she saw, and had some helpful hints to make things even better. Actually, most of the things that she said could be improved were little organizational oversights that I belatedly noticed during the course of the lesson myself. We're on the same page, at least.

Then I took a night off so Jen could attend some work-related meetings. I fell asleep with the girls shortly after 9 PM. Sleep, precious sleep.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The days pile up with no posts, and moments in time fade away unreported. Most of these moments, though, are taken up with the mundane maintenance of life and living, and hence aren't very interesting anyway.

The days are getting colder, but Autumn has thrown a few summer-like days into the mix. Many of the mornings have been foggy, which is bliss. The sweet melancholy of dropping leaves and indistinct greyness matches my mood. I've examined myself and found room for improvement, but as usual, I'm not sure how to proceed. I turn 40 in less than a month, but I don't always feel like an adult.

That said, I am making improvements in some ways. I'm still working towards getting my multi-subject teaching credential. It's not always easy to find the time to do the assignments though. There is always somebody nearby with a pressing need - usually Willow, who has developed a fear of the bathrooms and now acts like a little tyrant with her constant reminders to, "clowse da door and turn off da liiiights!" Poor girl. I hope this fear is short-lived.

Speaking of teaching credentials, I took the CSET last Saturday. The test covers language arts, math, science, social studies/history, physical education, human development, and the arts. It has eleven essay questions and something like 143 multiple choice questions. I actually kind of enjoyed taking it because I didn't get interrupted by anybody for a whole five hours. I'll find out my scores on the 26th. I think I'll pass. I hope.

That same night, I went and saw a couple of concerts in San Francisco. The first was Iva Bittova at the Noe Valley Ministry, which is a nice place to see a show. The show started out with a haunting, elegaic a-cappella song, and continued with a mixture of spirited, gypsy-inflected violin and voice pieces, with a few detours featuring a marimba (beautiful, like a haunted music box), kazoo (silly, but then again that was the point), and various vocal calisthenics. At a couple of points during the show, she stepped down off the dais and wandered barefoot through the audience, singing in people's faces and looking for all the world like an itinerant gypsy musician trying to get a rise out of the townsfolk. She acted out her songs, which helped those of us who didn't understand Czech (did I mention that she sang in Czech?) get a sense of what they were about. She often punctuated the music with floor stomping and tongue clicking, which was quite fitting somehow.

Then, I rushed over to the Hemlock Tavern to catch (coincidentally enough), another Czech act, Uz Jsme Doma (upon discussing this with Greg, who also went to both shows, I realized that this wasn't the first time we'd seen a show at the Noe Valley Ministry and then rushed off to see Uz Jsme Doma in another club). After some difficulty in finding parking, I got to see part of Mute Socialite's set (Moe!'s new band), and found them satisfyingly gritty and manic. Uz Jsme Doma, who lean more towards the punk end of the musical spectrum than Iva Bittova, put on a great show too. Their sax player is no longer on board (and hasn't been for awhile - but it's been around six years since they were last here), but his shoes were nicely filled by a trumpet player. Good fun, and well deserved after taking the CSET, I think.

More recently, I got to show the kids at camp comet Holmes through the telescope this week. It looks like what it is, and expanding ball of gas around a bright core - sort of like fog in space.

That's all for now. I'll try to update this page more regularly - time allowing, of course.