Monday, February 25, 2008

Home sick today

I was home sick today and had to cancel class. But this is what I did once I could sit at the computer for a while.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Now this is what really moves me...

This is how I spent my Sunday. How about you?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My day

I am not going to post today. How ironic.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I need some me time. I spend all my time giving to others. Sometimes the best way to give is to just recharge yourself. I have things I should be doing but tonight I will sleep (hopefully) and then tomorrow I will do whatever the hell I want. That is a true luxury.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Interested? I thought not....

It is really hard to get and hold people's attention these days. So how can you do it?
  • scare them?
  • shock them?
  • awe them?
  • intrigue them?
  • entice them?
  • coddle them?
  • listen to them?
  • talk to them?
  • show them something?
  • make them laugh?
  • be their friend?
  • be their enemy?
  • appeal to their vanity?
  • make them a co-conspirator?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not a great day

The thing about blogs is that you are publicly sharing your thoughts/ideas/randomness with people who probably don't really give a damn. It is all so much chatter with no real point.

I have been very negative today and this whole class/idea seems pointless. I know I will feel differently later, so I will let it be later before I come back here. I think I have a major case of cabin fever and I have developed a serious case of insomnia lately.

If I am burned out on this whole thing how must the students be feeling? Or is it just me? Right now I am so very sick of analyzing everything...

I don't want to blog any more so good night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too many chicken posts here

So I created a blog just for chicken stuff. Check it out here!

Nice name, don't you think? So if you care about our chickens (and why wouldn't you???) then fly over to that blog.

The chicks - day 2! (kinda the same as day 1...)

And of course, here is the newest video of my chickens! If anyone can help me identify the breeds let me know!

The hatchery said we would have at least 10 from the following list:
  • Araucanas
  • Brahmas, Buff
  • Brahmas, Dark
  • Buttercups
  • Cochins, Black
  • Cochins, Blue
  • Cochins, Buff
  • Cochins, Partridge
  • Cochins, Silver Laced
  • Cochins, White
  • Crevecoeurs
  • Dominiques
  • Fayoumis
  • Golden Campines
  • Golden Penciled Hamburgs
  • Lakenvelders
  • Langshans, Black
  • Langshans, White
  • Modern BB Red Games
  • Phoenix
  • Polish, Buff Laced
  • Polish, Golden
  • Polish, Silver
  • Polish, White
  • Red Caps
  • Salmon Faverolles
  • Silver Gray Dorkings
  • Silver Leghorns
  • Silver Penciled Rocks
  • Spanish
  • Sultans
  • Sumatras
  • White Laced Red Cornish
  • Wyandottes, Golden Laced
  • Wyandottes, Silver Penciled
The chicks I thought yesterday might be Phoenix might actually be Araucanas. I don't know!!!!

Interesting class yesterday

This really was an interesting class. Yesterday we discussed the notion of "what moves you." It was the first time I really saw us come together as a functional discussion group. For the first time I found that people actually had more to say than I gave them time to do so! What a wonderful problem.

We discussed everything from religion and how it relates (or doesn't) to spirituality to racism to family to time. (Note the irony in the religion picture as it relates to seeing sideways. I couldn't resist! Sorry.)

I love watching as a class of people begins to open to one another and based on the serious conversations in the second part of class, I think we are bonding well as a group and exchanging ideas more freely. Point in fact, when Jace was talking and I thought he was finished so I gave someone else the reins of the discussion - but he was not finished. AND he had the nerve to say he wasn't done saying what he wanted! Bravo Jace!

Another example of how the group dynamic is really forming was when 2 or more people started talking about something at the same time. A few times Evan, Brandon, and Doug all wanted to say something at the same time. I suddenly found myself in the role of moderator instead of dentist (trying to pull the comments out of people like a dentist pulling teeth.) I guess I was not ready for this much enthusiasm! The only problem I could see might be that other students who are not as forceful may not have the opportunity to participate. Mental note: look at ways to moderate a discussion more effectively.

So, in light of this enthusiasm here is what I am asking the class to do this week:
For the coming week your assignment is to post something to your blog each day. What you post is completely up to you, but I would like for you to think about what moves you when creating these posts. During class we discussed how it is the emotion and feelings that you experience about what moves you that is the key, not the actual thing that moves you. These emotions are very profound (hence why it moves you) and difficult to verbalize. Language often does not have the means to convey deep emotions. But is it possible to still convey that emotion somehow? Can you show these feelings? Can you create something with these feelings? This quest could be a very good subject for your blog entries. The point is that if there is something that moves you to emotion that is too large for words, then others will respond to the genuine quality of that experience if you can find a way to communicate it. Can you convey that emotional experience somehow? And that my friends, can take a lifetime to accomplish, so don't be upset if you can't find a way in just 7 blogs. But it can be a good start.
The image above was blatently stolen from this website.
I guess I just wanted you to know that for some reason...

I am curious to see how the class handles this assignment... I think we are starting to make some interesting progress as a class, but more importantly, I am seeing changes in individuals. That is really exciting.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Baby pix (let me bore you with my pictures...)

Just like any proud mama, let me show you my children. I am sure I will post more later. Click the image to see it bigger!

Peeping poof ball explosion

Back at Christmas we decided to order 25 day-old chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. We ordered the Rarest of the Rare assortment...

At 4:00 a.m. (yes, 4:00 in the morning!) this morning we got a phone call from the US GOVT (according to caller ID) which is not something that happens every day at our house... A little to my disappointment it was the local post office begging us to come pick up our day old chicks that had just arrived. Then it dawned on me, once my neurons actually caught up with my ears - THEY WERE HERE!!!!! The chickens were finally here! So we hurried and got ready, all the while talking about how their journey must have been from Iowa in a mail truck, and what would they look like, and did they all survive, and then we stepped out into 6 degrees! There was no way we were going to put these fragile little things in the coop out in the barn, even though we had originally prepared to brood them out there. It was just too cold...

So, we drove the 5 miles to the post office and picked up the peepers and they now live in my bathtub! Thankfully we have 2 full baths at the house!

One of our dogs even met them this morning. So far none of the poof balls has become a canine chicken nugget, but that is why bathrooms have doors with good latches (or at least at our house, that is why!)

BTW, if you look closely in the last video , or to the left in the image here, you can see the automatic waterer I made. The feed store did not have chick waterers in stock yet so I was forced to come up with a solution. Originally I had a couple shallow dishes with water, but the chicks thought they made great swimming (and pooping!) pools, so that did not work out. I ended up taking a can and punching 4 holes in the top about 1/2 inch from the lip. I then found an old tray from a flower pot that got lost a long time ago that was not too deep and it worked great! I just filled the can up to the holes, put the flower pan over the top and turned it upside-down. I just saved myself some money and solved a problem - all by seeing the problem sideways!

We think this is a Phoenix, who may grow up to look like this.

And this one, we think is an Egyptian Fayoumis who might grow up to look like this.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What else moves me... absurdity. Especially in everyday things. The entire dozen eggs in this carton were double-yolked. What are the odds of that? And more importantly - what the hell were these chickens eating???!!!???

Another cool thing that really gets me going is when you can see hidden images in other things. Can you see the Punisher on the garage floor?

In case you don't know what the Punisher looks like, this image shows you... Not an exact copy, but close enough to get your attention! And it was totally random.

What moves me?

The answer to this question changes from day-to-day for me... But today, the ability to share my view of the world with others moves me. I hope you enjoy these pictures. And, yes, I do have a thing for nature. It moves me, too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Interesting blog entry

I really like the way this blog entry was handled. Nice way to approach the assignment from a different angle!

And this one is priceless - well, actually not priceless since it is all for sale! Way to go!!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What if...we never needed to use the bathroom?

What if...we never needed to use the bathroom?

This made me stop and think... I spend a lot of time reading in the bathroom, so what would it be like if I never had to go to the bathroom? I was going to look into What if water was money? but this bathroom thing really caught me...

It is official - Big Brother is now a freakin' perv! I guess there really is no privacy any more... And they will offer me HEALTH counseling based on a timer in the hand dryer that says how long I am in the bathroom??? Yikes!

And let's really think about what it means to "use the bathroom." Does that just mean eliminating bodily waste? Or could it mean grooming as well, or in my case, reading? So, just when you thought it was always the girls who spend too much time in the bathroom, check this out.
(Yes, the picture above is a sink... And no, I don't want to think about the fuzzy pink seat in the picture below. Eeeooo....)

Of course, there are the bathroom Nazis who will only let you go to the bathroom when they feel like it, not when you feel like it.

And finally, if you are British it has been determined that we know precisely how much time you will spend in the bathroom: "Hats off, then, to bathroom retailer Bathstore, which has analysed how much time the average Brit spends showering, brushing their teeth and going to the loo in their lifetime - one year, seven months and 18 days precisely." Read the rest here.

Of course, if we didn't have to go to the bathroom we would not have websites like this: and wouldn't that be sad?

Looks comfy, eh?

Well, I have to end this post for now - I have to go pee... Just think how much longer this post would go on if I never had to use the bathroom! Lucky for you I do!

But before I "go" let me point you to this guy - even sicker than me!

Link a link, link, link!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ramblings and then some really good stuff...

For this week, these 2 blogs really caught my attention. I think you will find them interesting. I also think you might find my thoughts in the rest of this post enlightening. and

I am still trying to analyze how this current semester is going since it is such a different experience from last semester. Not bad, just different. I think one of the biggest differences between this semester and the previous class is that this semester we only meet once a week, whereas last time we met twice a week for 6 weeks... And I only had 22 students in all for that semester (this semester I am teaching 108, last semester it was 120, and they are all hands-on courses...) So last time I was able to focus on just the Seeing Sideways course.

Maybe it is better to do exercises like we do in this class in a compacted period of time where everyone meets face-to-face more often. This class should be a symposium/seminar and not taught in front of a bunch of computers in a room where no one can see each other... I also think the number should never be more than 20-25 students. That is actually a little too large. 15-20 would be ideal. I think the factory method of teaching that happens during the semester is not conducive to learning and I know that when students take 12-18 credits at one time plus have jobs and families, serious learning becomes very difficult... Hmmm... stuff to think about.

BTW I am not slamming this semester's class, just looking for the differences and how to best reach everyone. I think seeing sideways is very important but it takes unstructured time to work best. So how can we have a creative experience in class that will reach beyond the confines of the classroom and still do everything else we need to do during the day??? This is my challenge... I will keep looking at this from different angles and see what happens.

I think I have located the source of my itches with this class... The world wants us to be worker bees in a factory environment (regardless of whether we actually work in a factory.) Each person is given a slot and a job and expected to act like all the other slot-fillers around them. And if one of these drones sees the sky above and wonders about the light and starts to question if there is more than what is just in the every day routine, then the others start to look at that slot-filler and worry... What if they stir up trouble by looking at the sky? What if someone important notices that the worker bee looking at the sky is not "working" as hard as the others? What if no one else can see the sky? What if the others can't do what they need because the one looking at the sky is in their way? What if the others begin to see the sky and it scares them? What if people get mad at the one who can see the sky? What if - OH MY GOD!

This has turned into a "what if..." exercise with a story line!!!! Isn't that interesting? Seriously. I did not plan that. I am just ranting on and on and suddenly find myself using this exercise for real. That is really pretty cool! I know it looks rigged, but it isn't... Hmmm.... That is most interesting (and yes, I do sound like Mr. Spock - so what?!?) I have been seriously doubting the practical uses of this course, but... If I am using this idea (What if...) in my everyday life to help solve a problem maybe my students might find themselves doing the same thing... Now that is pretty cool! Maybe this class might have more value than I had anticipated...

But how can I help others see it that way? How can I find a way to overcome everyday mundane issues and duties? Someone who has so many responsibilities (like most of our students) is not going to give much time to a "Mickey Mouse" class where all we do is talk about stuff and try weird experiments with New Media... It is a brush-off class and calculus or Java programming has real, tangible outcomes, so it must be more important. Besides, those kinds of things show up on standardized exams so society values them. Right? If we are being tested on quantifiable skills all the time, and if that is what employers want, then they must be more important. We are so conditioned to live our lives a certain way that eventually that pattern becomes a trap and we don't even want to see past it. Even what we want from life (a family, a good education, a good job, money, love, fame, etc.) is part of the potential trap that we can fall into. If all we want in life is good job, for example, then we become very focused on getting that job and the minutia of achieving that goal takes over our lives. If it is not a logical, concrete step toward that goal then it doesn't have any meaning. We have to worry about impressing the right people, making the right connections, preparing ourselves for this "perfect" job by educating ourselves, etc. And for what? The day we finally get the job and everything is perfect? I have a job that I think is perfect, so I must be in a position to not worry about it. Right? What about when the economy tanks and everyone loses their jobs? At this point, I am on a yearly contract and I am not guaranteed a job for more than the next year. What if my contract does not get renewed? Does that keep me from thinking about the sky? If you always ignore the sky and only focus on what is in front of you, then where are you when that thing in front of you disappears? Where does that leave you and what of all that time and energy you spent trying to attain and keep the thing with which you were so obsessed? The sky is always there, whether or not you choose to see it. That job, or that person, or that other goal may not always be there. And if you are so used to doing something in just one way how will you handle the day when you have to do it another way? Now there's a cheery thought for you!

I really think this is why I had the students read Plato's cave allegory. I didn't see this connection at the time, but... I guess my own goal is really to just help open people's eyes to what is going on around them and the fact that each and every one of us is capable of doing something that will honestly make the world a better place. Because, when it comes right down to it, what is the world except for your own experiences? If you can make your own experiences as meaningful and fulfilling as possible, isn't that changing the world? Of course, this kind of thinking leads to more and more debate and the others around you begin to look at you strangely and worry... They worry things like: What if they stir up trouble by thinking these thoughts? What if someone important notices that they are spending so much time thinking and not "working" as hard as the others? What if the others can't do what they need because the one looking inward for an answer is in their way? What if listening to these kinds of ideas makes you start to question your own life? What if people start to blame the person who started them on this quest for all the unsettled thoughts they are having?

That is why some day I will probably just become a farmer and say to hell with it all! :-)

Sometimes it is difficult being the one who sees everything sideways. It takes a willingness to let go of fear, anxiety, and discomfort so you can experience things in your own way, share what you think is important, and communicate effectively.

Sometimes it is lonely when you first start seeing sideways, but man is the view good from here!

Interesting "What if..." question...

What if water were money? Hmmmm.... more on that later....