February 6

Tuesday I gave the first exam in Bio II.  These kids keep surprising me.  There were so many A’s.  I ate in the cafeteria for the first time at lunch.  The food was good and plentiful. In the afternoon the environmental science class tested different kinds of insulation.  We used light bulbs for a heat source, and melted and scorched some of the materials (which smelled really bad).   Next time we use lower wattage bulbs. 

Wednesday in plant field biology I had them bring their digital cameras and manuals.  Some had never ever cracked their manuals.  We went over basic macro functions, which they will need to make their virtual wildflower collection.  We went outside and photographed various ice-covered and snow-dusted subjects.  Back at the computer lab we went over some post-processing techniques.  Many learned a lot just doing this.  One guy had sold Panasonic cameras and worked at Best Buy.  He was helping the other students with theirs, and clearly was far ahead in every aspect.  He is also a photographer for the student paper.
This is about the best I got.

I drove the truck to work today because we were supposed to get 5 inches of snow or more.  It did snow for awhile, but it didn’t stick to the streets.  I wasted $10 worth of gas on that bad forecast.

Thursday I had only two students show up for environmental science.  One was out with a broken collar bone.  Another was traveling with the basketball team, and two were gone to see a newly hatched baby.  Rather than lecture, I showed the monolithic dome DVD.  They were fairly impressed.  I received in the mail a copy of the 2008 World of Insects Calendar.  When I paged through it, I was surprised to find two of my photos had made it in.  It was sold at the ESA meeting last November, and the guy never even told me any of mine had made the cut.  Still, it made my day.  How much better can this year get?  Here are the winning pics.  They may look familiar.
  
Bug eats damsel.  Carpenter bee on blackberry.

I had traded cars with Stacey for the day so that when I got home I could take Savannah to get her drivers license.  Against all predictions, she passed.  She took the driving test in Canton, using the Tracker, but we had to go to Monticello to get the actual license, which we did with haste.  There was much rejoicing.

Friday I met Lew Portnoy for coffee downtown.  I had met him last week at Eagle Day.  He is a world class sports photographer who recently retired to Canton. He has shot the Olympics, many World Series and Super Bowls.  He takes a lot of eagle pictures these days.  Go to LPphoto.com if you want to see his stuff.  It’s rare to talk to anyone who has been a true leader in their field.  I learned a lot. 

Our new garage door was installed today.  It’s very nice, and one of the best parts is that, unlike the old one,  I’ll never have to paint it.  I went to QU for a meeting, and the committee chair and I were the only ones to show up.  That made our business fairly short.  We hung around and talked a lot longer.  She’s one of the people I like and admire a lot at QU, so the time was very pleasant.  I stopped at the hospital to visit my friend Jay.  He woke up one morning and couldn’t breathe.  Turned out he had blood clots that had formed in his legs and gone to his lungs.  He looked pretty good for a guy in ICU, and all the signs were that he was on the mend.  When I got home a package was waiting for me: a new camera!  I got in a couple of shots right away, but I had to let the battery charge before I could do much more.  I need to read the manual and learn this camera.


Boots was readily available. This was the second photo I took; it’s not cropped or altered in any way except compressed to fit in this space.  For equal time, I went outside and took a picture of Kane.

I went to a HS basketball game, only to see our boys team fall to a far superior team.  Our guys never gave up though.  They worked hard until the end.  Savannah’s cheering squad was the highlight for me.


High kick during player introductions.

The pendulum stunt.


Savannah catches Jenna falling out of the pendulum stunt.

Saturday morning I took Savannah to the science fair.  There were actually a few good projects this year.  Interestingly, our friends’ children did very well, the Walshes, El-Bermawys and Pollets.  Savannah and her partner took first in their division and got the students’ choice award for best scientific thought among high school projects. 


Savannah and Ayah with their winning Science Fair project. 

Stacey was in Jefferson City all day, and Savannah went to Dustin’s for the afternoon.  I went to Quincy and jumped on a bus for the annual student ski trip.  A 2.5 hour ride later and we were at Snowstar.  By then the temperature had fallen into the single digits and it was blowing a gale.  The conditions were icy.  I hung with a group of students for most of the night, but I had to go into the lodge more frequently to warm up.  I had forgotten one thing I had intended to take: another layer.  I did more chaperoning on this trip than perhaps ever before.  I went in with one student who had crashed and hit her head.  She just had a little swelling on the cheekbone.  It was the same one who had gotten sun poisoning in the Galapagos.  I slept on the bus most of the way back to QU, had to be totally awake for the drive home, then try to fall asleep again.  12:30 is a late night for me. 

Sunday I slept in.  Stacey had to be at church all day.  I did odd jobs and experimented with the camera.  Savannah did chores.  We were supposed to go to her soccer game in the afternoon, but it was cancelled. 

Monday when I got home the wood furnace was brain dead.  A fuse had blown.  I changed the fuse three times, but it blew in less than a second each time.  I even ran to Farm and Home to get more.  I switched the heat and hot water over to gas power for the night.  In the morning I called our HVAC guy.  He didn’t get there until right when I had to leave for work, so our communication was minimal.  He changed the damper solenoid, which was what I suspected, and also the door gasket, which I knew was leaking.  I got to my class just in time to walk in the door and start lecturing.  Normally, I stop in my office first and drop off my coat and stuff.  When I got home, the wood furnace was working, but the fire was out.  I took care of that and got us back on wood power again.

I got our photo printer working with some new ink cartridges Stacey found lying about.  I’ve been printing 8x10s like mad.  It does fairly well for a relatively cheap printer.



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