29 April 2007

Sunday Burger Decadence

Tonight, on a whim, I constructed the most decadent hamburger I've ever consumed. I started with the standards; 1# hamburger (90% lean), few dashes of Worcestershire, fresh ground pepper, an egg, large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Then I added probably 3/4 cup of feta cheese that had been hanging out in my frig since the spinach throwdown weekend. I also added another egg, thinking it would hold it together better. It ended up having the opposite effect. I also added in a healthy dose of Bosnian hot paprika. I formed that mixture into three patties. (Lately, I've been favoring 1/3 pound burgers as opposed to my former weight of 1/4 pound.) I put some foil on the grill and got those guys cooking. Then I sliced up leftover mushrooms, onions and a couple gloves of garlic that were all just taking up space in my frig & pantry. Those items were sauteed with some EVOO. (oh, I miss Rachael Ray) A toasted bun and a few minutes for the burgers over the direct flame after cooking on the foil and I was ready to plate my dinner and top it with the sauteed goodness. It was quite a meal and I enjoyed it sitting on my back step, enjoying the sinking sun, watching squirrels and sipping an Amberbock. That is truly how Sunday afternoons should be spent.

27 April 2007

Student arrested for essay

After penning a explicit and violent essay to fulfill a free writing activity, a student was arrested when the teacher turned the essay over to the police. He's been charged with two counts of disorderly conduct. An interesting sidenote is that part of the assignment stated, "Write whatever comes to your mind. Do not judge or censor what you are writing." and "it can be a valve to release inner tensions" and "you can't fail in free writing. The point of doing free writing is the process, not the end result". Should be interesting to see what the verdict is.

Pablo's, High Jumpers, and an Art Exhibit

After a brief comment in a phone call to stoppable on Tuesday, stating that I should've went out to Omaha to watch the Champions League game with him (Chelsea won 1-0 over Liverpool), stoppable took the initiative and made a fun daytrip out here to yesterday. We started it off a delicious meal at Pablo's. It is great that he was able to try the food at my favorite spot after hearing me talk of the burritos there so often. We met caboose and loiltes there and had a good time. After eating we were able to watch some of the men's high jump that they had moved indoors to Capitol Square Plaza. It is a fun chance to see a little of the fun Drake Relays action. We followed that up with a visit to the Des Moines Art Center and checked out The Oxford Project exhibition. It is a photography exhibit of the residentes of Oxford, Iowa. Portraits were taken 21 years apart, originally in 1985 and the follow up in 2005. The two photos of each person are paired with a short bio of the person and their life. I thought it was really interesting and a great look at life in small town Iowa. I was really sucked in and thought it was definitely worth checking out. After that stoppable heading back in the direction he had came. Now I'll have to see about a daytrip to Omaha next week!

24 April 2007


It's incredible how many thousands of decisions we make each day, big or small, important or trivial, conscious or unconscious, and the domino effect of them. I was driving after meeting a former co-worker for lunch today and happened to be sitting at a stop light on a major road here. It is three lanes in each direction. I was in the rightmost lane and a white Malibu was next to me at the light in the middle lane. I was sort of mulling things over in my head, waiting for the light to change when BAAMM, the white car next to me lurches forward into the intersection. I had that half-second of disorientation before I realized that they had been slammed into from behind by a full-size Chevy van. So there we all sat, and no one go out of their car so I got out and made sure no one was unconscious or anything, then I parked a wrote my name and number on slips of paper for both drivers. After verifying that they were both OK, I gave them my info in case a witness would be needed. The driver of the van didn't seem to upset or worried about the situation, and I felt bad for the girl was rather shaken up (both physically and emotionally). It was only after I got back in my car and continued on to my destination that it occurred to me that if I had chosen to drive in the middle lane how different my day could've been. Prayers were rightly offered up.

23 April 2007

Messi wondergoal

He beats six players en route to his goal! Impressive piece of skill.

22 April 2007

Pulitizer Photo winner

I saw this photo in the paper this morning and I had to go online to find a little more information about it. It was captured by AP photographer Oded Balilty and is of a 17 year old girl standing against a wall of riot police in Jerusalem. It is definitely an amazing photograph. The information on the rest of the story behind the photo can be found on this Isreali news site. Odd that there was no mention of the excessive force used by the police on the Pulitizer or AP site. It is a strong reminder that a photo shows us only a fraction of a second in time, and when viewed as part of the real-life continuum of time, it can fail to provide the full story.

21 April 2007

Last Day of Student Teaching

Yesterday was my final day of student teaching. My fourteen weeks there were even better than I had hoped and the last day was the perfect from beginning to end. I was up early to make Rice Crispy treats, to add to the three trays of cookies I'd baked the night before. Then I went to school and finished editing this class movie co-op project I'd had one of my classes do. And I had time to run out and pick up four dozen donuts for my first two periods and coffee for my teacher and the teacher across the hall. The kids were all very nice and had made me cards and my teacher had taken a picture of each class outside the day before while I was gone and they had all signed it. The small group of teachers that I ate lunch with surprised me with a pizza lunch! So I've got a stack of cards and evaluations (I had all my students fill out an evaluation of what I did that was good, what I could improve on, and their advice on being a good teacher) to read through. It will be so weird to not go to school on Monday!

15 April 2007


Well, it'd been 12 years since I'd taken part of the magical fun of high school prom night. Last night I was able to revisit that. While the fashions, music, dancing styles and venue were quite a deviation from my own small, rural high school's prom so long ago, the excitement of the kids and the craziness of it all where the same. I have to say that I myself was even excited to get dressed up (black suit, black shirt, olive print tie) and head down to the venue. Watching the couples come in, checking out the decorations, enjoying the food (yummy fresh fruit, cheese & crackers, wings, cheese sticks and chocolate-dipped strawberries! definitely a step up from cookies and punch!) and witnessing the announcing of king and queen were all very fun. The kids were very proud to be all dressed up and eager to make sure their instructors saw them.
I ducked out well before the end of the dance, but not before grabbing one last strawberry. Good fun!

14 April 2007

Chicago Represents!

Chicago will be representing the U.S. in the final vote to host the 2016 Olympics. I like the USOC Chairman's little political side message, "If you could take the mayors of these two communities and have them run our country, we would all be better off.’’ Ha! Now we wait until 2009 when the Windy City will square off against the other international representatives.

12 April 2007

Fast Train!

I made note of this to blog it a week ago and am just now getting around to it. (I've been a little busy.) The record-breaking speed is impressive, 357 mph. But there are several other just as amazing tidbits in the story: in 26 years of high-speed raillines operation, the French have suffered zero fatalities (while the British have had 60 in the last decade), "there were 40 technicians on board, but none could tell exactly how the train would behave above 350mph, especially in a fairly strong crosswind", the train would take ten miles to stop once the brakes were applied. That would have been some ride to be a part of. I'd love to ride the TGV someday.

11 April 2007

Guest Blog: Nature Walk

**** authored by homebase ****
Well, first I must say thanks everyone for getting your mom set up with computers and ipod. 'Peace' and I went for our first walk this morning-left at 10:00 and returned at 11:40! I went out to the lagoon road but cut across where we fly kites and went onto Bud's land where I almost lost my new camera that time, remember?-chasing deer out of the grass with the kids? Not a good memory. Then I went around all Bud's field and followed the river around behind and went south along the river to our tree dump site. Here's what I saw,
a herd of 9 deer, a turkey, several pair of Canada Geese, 60-65 ducks--lost count, an owl , a deer carcass (think no head), red winged blackbird, meadowlark, and not one human-:) The turkey scuttled away like she had a nest but I couldn't find it.I even picked up a nice piece of rope, Jake, we had left with our tree pile. I just love my ipod. It is so relaxing. Thanks for everyone's playlist--it was so quick to get it filled I couldn't believe it. Now I will investigate a new computer and soon be up to speed. I loved having everyone here for the Easter weekend. Thanks so much for coming and cooking, doing dishes, bringing food and helping me with everything. I am very blessed to have such a great family. I enjoyed it so much. Love, Mom

Kid Logic #2

So I had an episode earlier this week that reminded me of the Kid Logic I mentioned in the test-checking question. I was working in my room afterschool and a student, not one of mine, came in asked if something had printed out on our color printer. I told him that, yes, something had come out that I didn't recognize so I tossed it in the recycle bin beside the door. It was sitting on top of the pile and he grabbed it on his way out. Only a couple minutes later I hear the printer spit out something and the same kid comes back in and he looks in the recycle bin to see if his print is there! It isn't so he then proceeds to the printer and finds his print. I almost laughed out loud. The idea that since he found his first printout in the recycle bin, that his second one would be there as well cracked me up.

09 April 2007

iPod Landmark

Apple announced that it has sold its 100 millionth iPod. I wonder if they were able to specify the exact person who purchased the iPod and put them over the top. They did so much cool stuff for the girl who bought the 100 millionth song from the iTunes store, I hope they did for this person too! And just think, our family helped them along with 5 sales!

In other iPod news...check out these two pictures on flickr from a soldier in Iraq who got shot in the iPod. The story came out originally that the iPod slowed the bullet and saved the soldier, but it has been corrected now. The soldier stated that he didn't even know he'd been hit until he was back at base and put in his earbuds and didn't hear any music. He pulled it out of his front pocket and saw the damage. Regardless, the story made the rounds at Apple and they are sending him a replacement. Gotta support the troops!

04 April 2007

One Shining Moment

On a related note, YouTube has all the One Shining Moments from like the past twenty years. I watched this year's, since I was a pansy and went to bed early. I loved that they had a clip of the North Carolina mascot; he was the kid who got hit by a car during the tournment. And then for some reason, I just clicked on 1993. That was the year of the Fab Five at Michigan when they lost in the final to North Carolina and the memorable attempt to call a timeout by Chris Webber. It was fun to compare the differences in the "flash" factor of the piece as well as comparing the uniforms, haircuts, etc. I also watched 1987. There were several clips of Iowa, when they had Kevin Gamble and that crew. And there is a clip of Rick Pitino hugging his player Billy Donovan, who was, of course, the coach the Florida Gators. I wish I could get a DVD of all of the One Shining Moments.

"Say Everything"

I read an article in New York magazine called "Say Everything" by Emily Nussbaum the other day while working out at the YMCA. I found it very interesting because it dealt with something I see everyday in at school. The article talked about a huge generation gap developing because young adults now have grown up with technology and don't know any different. They are completely at ease with email, MySpace, YouTube, texting, etc. While older generations are hesitant to trust the internet, young adults post and share all sorts of information and images that previously we would never have considered making public, and they didn't have the ease of doing so, even if they had wanted to. As the article points out, “You didn’t behave like that because nobody gave you the option.”
Another thing I enjoyed about the article is when it was talking about the historical aspect of blogging and other journaling sites. I actually wrote a blog post on this a while back but have held off on posting it. Being able to look back on a documented record of your doings and feelings is an exciting and great thing.
I recommend the article, there are some strong points in it. I thought the one girl's quote of “To me, or to a lot of people, it’s like, why go to a party if you’re not going to get your picture taken?” was insightful into the psyche of some young adults. I also thought the part about drawing an analogy between the relationship between Creole and pidgin languages and the 'text-speak' of the young generation.
Lastly, I don't know if it truely as drastic a generation gap as the article thinks. Some people, young and old, have chosen to fully adopt technology and all the good and bad that can come with it. Other types of people, both young and old, have chosen to not buy into it. When I was on the phone with homebase tonight, discussing of the hilarity of the Dana Altman press conference, she said, "You'll have to YouTube it." Not too much of a gap here, I'd say!
(which, amazingly, the video is not on YouTube yet. I'll check it again in a day or two.)

03 April 2007

Iowa Basketball Coach Announcement

OK, so the Hawkeyes have announced the next head coach, Todd Lickliter from Butler. He was named coach of the year by one voting group. He's taken Butler to the Dance 4 of the last 6 years, better than Iowa can boast. Thoughts? Also, former coach Steve Alford's house is now on the market, in case you are looking for a $1.65 million home in the Iowa City area.
Lastly, I was running some errands over the weekend and pulled up behind a pickup that had a piece of cardboard taped across its tailgate that said, "Thank You, New Mexico!" I had to laugh.


Since we gave up all our good cable channels a couple months back, I have been hard-pressed to find anything good on TV when I sit down. That was the case until I started watched Discovery more. Two shows in particular have been entertaining me lately, Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch. Both are entertaining and informational. I was sharing my new-found fun of Deadliest Catch with stoppable the other day and he replied that he'd been a fan for both its first two seasons. The show follows the perils, drama and financial gains of the fleet of boats fishing the Alaskan crab season in the Beiring Sea. Talk about lucrative! These fisherman take home anywhere from $20,000 to $47,000 each for their two weeks of work. Not bad to match your yearly salary in a couple weeks. And the physical challenges of the jobs are alluring, but the danger level and odds of not coming back to port are a bit too high for me to get too interested. But I'm learning lots and am happy to find something good to watch while I eat dinner!

02 April 2007

USPS takes on a powerful ally

I saw an R2-D2 post office box a few weeks ago when I was downtown. I meant to check out the website advertised on it, but I forgot until I saw a mention of it on Gapers Block. The USPS is producing a sheet of Star Wars stamps to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the series. You can also vote for your favorite, and the winner will be produced on a sheet of their own. Go forth and let the force be your guide! (I voted for Darth Vader. His 360 degree life story is too powerful and he was just too much of an evil villian.)