Monday, February 26, 2007

Two Truths and a Lie

It's time for a game. Here's how it works. After reading this post, go to the "people who like me" (i.e., comments) link at the bottom of this post. That opens up the comments gadget, for those of you who haven't tried it yet. In your comment, rather than your usual glowing remarks about by wittiness and good looks, you will type 3 sentences. Two of them should be true statements about yourself and your life. One will be a lie that sounds true. It doesn't matter what order they are in.

This game is meant to be played as a kind of icebreaker for classes or co-workers to get to know each other. It becomes much more difficult when you're dealing with people who have known you all your life or live in the same house.

Here are mine:
1. I won't eat water chestnuts because of the sound they make when I chew them.
2. I named my cat Calamity Jane after the HBO show Deadwood.
3. The biggest scar I have is from dog food.

A few caveats on your lie: Don't say something like "My birthday is August 18th" when it is actually the 17th. That's a technicality, not a lie, and it's just not as fun that way. Yes, your goal is to stump my other five readers, but they shouldn't feel cheated if you do.

After you've done that, check back here to see who else said what. You can leave another comment if someone got the right answer, or you can email me at erinhdowney at cox dot net and I'll post the results next week. Have fun!

Friday, February 23, 2007

And people still ask me why I left Lubbock...

Tyson was in Lubbock this past week, where a group of Chippendale's dancers were arrested for "simulating sex acts." The truth of the matter is that this particular group had performed in places much less renowned for an atmosphere of sexual liberation: Lamesa, Brownfield, and other small West Texas towns.

For the Lubbock show, the booking agent filed for all the appropriate permits and even attempted to check with the police department beforehand, but no one from LPD ever called back. When the doors opened for the first of 3 sold-out shows at Jake's Sports Bar, two dozen officers were standing around. About a half hour into the performance, officers arrested the 8 dancers for violating city ordinances by, apparently, blowing on a woman's neck while also not wearing a shirt. A friend of Tyson's said that the performers were cuffed and marched to waiting police vehicles in leg irons. They were released the next day and all charges were dropped.

Maybe the officers just didn't understand what a "blow job" is.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Back all in one piece...

Unfortunately, this is not actually the picture of the slot canyons I hiked down this weekend; Tyson thought it better to take the camera to Texas for thirteenth-birthday-party photos rather than leaving it for me. I did buy myself some drafting pencils and a set of india ink pens in various sizes for practicing some drawing; maybe I will scan in one of them.

But anyway, I left Saturday morning for Utah, stopping south of Cannonville (about 30 minutes east of Zion NP), and drove down this little red dirt road to Willis canyon, where the runoff was covered in sheets of crumbly ice and packed snow. I hiked in maybe half a mile, just to a pouroff where I didn't feel like going around. Then I tried to find Cottonwood Canyon, south of Kodachrome Basin SP, but the road got really rocky and I didn't want to get into trouble on my first day out. (Plus I think I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere.)

So I made it back into Escalante, which is just about one of my favorite towns anywhere, about an hour before sundown. I had planned on sleeping on a foam mattress in the back of the car, but when I went back outside after eating dinner, it was freezing!

On Sunday, I had planned to hike Fiftymile Creek, a 5-mile hike from Hole-in-the-Rock Road down another slot canyon all the way to Lake Powell, but then I learned that the reason it was called"Fiftymile Creek" was because it was 50 miles from pavement on what would become a pretty gnarly, rocky road that far from civilization. It was a disappointment, too, because my hiking trails book promised beaver ponds and quicksand which sounded like a combination for a rather interesting afternoon.

I decided instead to head to the interestingly and inexplicably named Lick Wash, about 10 miles farther down the dirt road from yesterday (the less rocky one). Rather than rocky, it was muddy in places from snowmelt, but me and the car made it through allright. As I was hiking out of the canyon, I stopped to talk to a couple who had come in from the south, overshot the turnoff to the trailhead, and continued a few miles up the road I had come in on. "The road seemed really bad," the woman said. "I don't think we'll go that way when we leave." I almost laughed out loud when I got back to the trailhead and saw a big 4x4 pickup next to my little Matrix. (That's not my actual car in the photo, mind you. Mine is, for reasons that should now be obvious, dirtier. It's also missing a big chunk of front spoiler, thanks to Tyson, and probably to our off-road driving habits.)
The dirt road popped me out WAY south, on the 89 in between Big Water and Kanab. I passed a road signed for Toroweap, which, after talking to the nice Paiute ranger at Pipe Spring, I decided to forego because
  1. Tyson would be jealous.
  2. The road was 36 miles long.
  3. I couldn't get in and out before dark.
  4. It was supposed to rain overnight.
  5. The last three miles were rock that would smash up the underneath of my car.
  6. I don't technically know how to use my jack to change a tire.
  7. I figured I had pushed my luck pretty far already.
To make a long story short, I drove and drove and drove until I was back in Nevada near the turnoff for Beaver Dam State Park in a little town called Caliente, where I stayed for the night, then went to Beaver Dam looking for fish, or for the lake that used to be there before they blew the dam a couple of years ago. I got snowed on in the pass between Caliente and Alamo, quite a surprise considering I didn't even remember that there were mountains between Caliente and Alamo, a distance of about an inch on my map. (Unlike almost anywhere else I know, Nevada has mountain ranges that may only be 50 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 2000 feet higher than the valleys in between. People from real mountains, like the Rockies or the Sierras, might feel more comfortable imagining air quotes around some of Nevada's "mountain ranges.")
But I am back, and getting ready to be back in class tomorrow. Hope everyone had a pleasant long weekend.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So I haven't posted anything lately because I was waiting for a lot of little news to come in. Now that it has, and now that I'm stuck in a public, wi-fi enabled place with nothing better to do for the next hour or so and no book to read, I suppose it's about time for an update.

Some newsworthy items:
  1. Tomorrow and Friday are staff development days, which is sort of like a holiday because we'll get to learn some things and we won't have to see any kids, plus we'll have hour-long lunches and the occasional department meeting where we'll be given a "homework assignment" that entails going to our rooms and doing all the stuff that was just going to keep us late today if we'd stuck around to do it. And they're feeding us breakfast for the next two days, and a "soul food" potluck on Friday. All in all, I could think of worse ways to spend two work days. Sometimes it's nice to hang out with the other grownups.
  2. I have a half-hour presentation to do tomorrow for the WHOLE STAFF on some of the stuff I learned at the National Reading Conference. It is sort of starting to scare me, and Tyson finds it incredibly amusing since half of our staff has masters degrees or higher and all but a handful or so have been teaching longer than I have.
  3. Tyson was doubly amused, then, when I was invited to miss a whole day of school last week (with the sub paid for, even!) to a meeting where I told a group of Title I principals about this system we only sort of use at our school. I say "sort of" because we really don't do any paperwork on it or anything, so it can't really be tracked or measured in any significant way, naturally an issue of concern to Title I administrators in the height of testing season.
  4. I'm being distracted by the pleasantly dorky-looking drummer of a small blues ensemble at the coffee shop.
  5. I am waiting at this coffee shop because a whole bunch of students from my school are, right this moment, loading up a bus to come to a UNLV basketball game tonight. I haven't been to a real b-ball game in a hundred years and I'm actually really looking forward to it.
  6. In one of my classes we are drawing comic strips about someone who survives a shipwreck. I wish you could see some of them. They are really, really great.
  7. On that note, there is a new Scott McCloud book on drawing comics that I would LOVE to have...hint, hint, Tyson....
  8. I have not made any more bread lately, but I did whip up a nice frozen-box lasagna last night for our Tuesday night date.
  9. Tyson and I are sharing a classroom bunny. Pics to come. Eat your heart out, Deidre!
  10. I am taking off next weekend on my first solo trip in a while, probably to Utah, and am really looking forward to it, although secretly I think it would be more satisfying if I were leaving Tyson at home rather than going on a trip to avoid being left at home, myself. Enjoying yourself is always so much easier when you can think about someone you know who isn't.


11. It has been around 70 degrees every afternoon for the last few days. The rest of you are having some kind of cold snap, right? How's that working out for you?