Monday, July 30, 2012

Off I go!

First day!
Sort of.
I mean I was there last week, but doing mostly prep stuff.
Today is the first day with actual not grown up people.
Though it's only freshmen.
Still, they do count as students, what seniors think of them notwithstanding.
Actually there will be freshmen and seniors here today as the seniors mentor the freshmen.
Something I think all school should do as the transition from middle to high school can be very difficult.
So anyways, falling asleep last night took some time as I kept going over things in my head.
This was different from thinking, which is usually dangerous, it was more like visualizing.
Lemme tell you, I did a lot of visualizing!
I don't really have first day jitters or anything, more like I'm anxious to start.
New career and all that sort of thing.
I sort of feel like I should take some time to reflect back and remember why I 'm doing what I'm doing and how I got here.
Time to remember all the good teachers I worked with and some of the tricks I learned.
Classroom management is one of the things that makes a good instructor and managing a classroom ain't easy!
Also time to remember all the bad teachers I worked with and all of the stuff I promised myself I wouldn't do.  Bad teachers make bad students and while I teach art, a bad art teacher makes a bad art.
Or something like that.
Okay, maybe I am a little jittery, but only because of that pesky Mac thing and knowing that my Mac Jedi skilz are sub par.
I need to work on that so I'll probably be getting one.
A Mac book or iEvilness I mean.
I'll probably need to learn some Adobe CS stuff like Illustrator and Dreamweaver so I'll studying up on more than just PS.
Good news!
Something Wonderful is on!
Despite a rather large setback, we have decided to forge ahead and go with our original plans.
Things were touch and go for a bit there, but we figured that we have way too much invested to just quit now.
We are less than a month out, 27 days I believe so things will be happening quickly from now on.
We've got most of the bicycle shops on the island involved and hopefully most of the bicycle clubs too.
Things are shaping up!
A major sponsor also came through with some major coin so that helped push us forwards.
More on this later.
Okay, first day.
Off I go!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Early Edition

 Tomorrow is the Big Day!
Okay, not really.
Only freshmen come in tomorrow and we're on an abreviatted schedule.
Still I've been busy getting ready.
I even passed on a ride yesterday since I had so much to do.
Okay, not really.
I slept late and missed meeting up with the folk over at Kvibe who did a End of Summer ride.
Anyways, this one class is the source of my ills.
It's a CTE class, Arts and Communication Pathway.
Sort of new as no one has actually taught it yet.
Which means there's no curriculum and the standards have only been in place since last year.
Every class has standards and benchmarks that need to be met, standards made up by some folks, usually scholars and other teachers.
Well the problem I'm having is these standards I got sort of conflict with the over all mission of a CTE class.
Kind of.
I mean in some ways they are broad, room for improvising, in others they are very specific.
To tell you the truth, the more I read them, the more confused I get.
Again, since this is the first time the class is being offered, I have no resources.
No text, no nothing.
Hell I'm not even sure I have a budget!
I'm sure I'll get this all straightened out by the time it needs to get straightened out.
If you know what I mean.
So as the dust settles and my rosters fill, this year I got about 142 students in my five classes.
It may sound like a lot of kids per class and it is.
Art classes sort of have a reputation as "dumping grounds," places where students are just placed when they got nowhere else to go so most art classrooms are at capacity.
One of my classes is actually over the seating limit, but hopefully one or two kids drop and we have space for everybody.
I just have to be extra mean on the first day!
First impressions don't you know.
Okay so I was hoping to get my last ride of the summer in today, but it's overcast and I still got some lesson planning to do.
It's also meeting day and we got some serious decisions to make about our event.
Things have sort of come to an impass and we need to decide which direction we are going to take.
More on that later.
Anyways, the culmination of all my studies, all my time put in the classroom, all my work and dreams have finally come.
I feel like a bomb ready to explode!

Okay, that's actually my head exploding, but you get the idea.
Though that is what my head may look like after this first week.

Well actually maybe a bomb exploding is not a good metaphor.
Let's just say I'm really excited and ready to get going.
Time to put up or shut up!
Sydney or the Bush!
Or something.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Some Symbolism, Some Transition

That's about all I can say about the last few days.
I finally got to where I was going and lemme tell you, it's been a long uphill ride!
A huffing and a puffing, all the way to the top.
The realization of what it feels like to be a real teacher didn't hit me at once.
It sort of came slow, like the dawning of a new day.
A new day it is.
A happy dude am I!
I haven't had much time to really think about it much.
Work to do don't you know.
Still, I took a couple of minutes to reflect.
My big moment came when I was handed the keys to my room(s):

Oh Boy!
Oh boy.
Along with those keys comes some serious responsibility!
No more fooling around nosirreebob.
I mean I worked really hard to get them keys and I was really really happy to have them in my greedy little hands, but then I realized what having those keys meant.
Not just to me, but to all the other people who gave them to me and trust me with them.
The keys I mean.
I thought about how blessed I am to finally have them, about the opportunity in front of me, and mostly about obligation I now have as the holder of the keys.
Them are much more than keys.
They are the future.
Those keys not only open doors, but they open minds.
They are not only the keys to success if you will, but the keys to a greater humanity.
Okay, I'll stop getting all serious now.
On another note, I'm in really big trouble!
I swear it's like those Apple folks live in another world!
Don't worry, they said, it's easy once you get used to it.
Once I get used to it, which may be like never:

There's the iEvilness in the background.
I swear I just touch that iEvilness and something goes goofy on me.
Where are my files?
How do I delete stuff?
What are these cartoon thingys on the bottom of the screen?
Uh, excuse me, but how do you turn this thing off?
Okay, it's not that bad.
Okay, not really,
It is that bad!
It's worser than trying to read in French!
Everything is like in another language and even the stuff that looks the same does something different!
I may have to go in tomorrow, you know, just so I can spend a bit more time on it.
It being the iEvilness.
Which has reduced me to a blithering idiot.
Whatever blithering means.
If the kids can do it, so can I!
I hope.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From the Trenches

So I'm sitting here in class, hard at work, getting ready for Monday.
Okay, not really.
I'm actually sitting here in class eating lunch and posting this up, which is probably not a sanctioned school event.
The posting up part I mean.
I'm also using my school issued laptop, probably also breaking some ethical use of school property rules.
Just to bring this on the scene report to you!
Boy, the risks I take.
Anyways, after a full day of what amounted to a seminar on what to do in the classroom and how to reach out to students, I'm finally getting some real work done.
Setting up the class for Monday isn't a real task, that part is in creating some lesson plans where no lesson plans exist.
One of my classes is new.
Like brand spanking so no one's ever taught it before and no one's even thought about what it should be about.
Well that's not exactly correct, they sort of know what it should be about, they just don't know what should be in it.
If you know what I mean.
So, second day On The Job(OTJ) I'm here flying by the seat of my pants trying to put one year worth of stuffs together.
Going where no teacher has gone before!
More on this later.
Lemme just say right here, I'm having a great time!
The other teachers here are awesome and friendly and I'm like a whole new person walking around saying hello to like complete strangers!
What the hell happened to me?
It's like I've awaked from a coma.
Or something.
There's still a lot of new teacher stuff to do before next week and I'm all ready to get it done so I can get going turning out little Flat Tire converts and disciples.
World domination and all that sort of thing.
One problem I'm having is that all the computers here are Macs and I'm pretty much Mac illiterate.
I mean last time I touched one was way back in art school which was like in another life.
So I'll be taking some time to get familiar with how the dark side operates.
I'm even thinking about converting since I'm going to be working on Macs almost exclusively.
Okay, I'd better get back to whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing cause I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be doing something.
Meanwhile I've got some other not so good news, but I'm saving that until we get it all sorted out.
Something Wonderful may not be so wonderful after all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Post Art Fair Wrap Up, Nerves

Thanks goodness I'm off today.
After two days of shmoozing, sitting under a tent, answering questions, and eating ginormous lunches, I'm pooped!
First of all, I barely made my money back.
This year seemed a bit slower but I did make more than last year.
I'm not disappointed or anything, I knew going in I didn't really have enough stuff and what I did have I wasn't happy with.
My Friend Kyle(MFK) and I were basically in desperation mode to get stuff on the shelves.
So anyways, I was about twenty dollars short of what I paid for the booth.
Seems like the entry fee was paid so long ago that it didn't really matter if I made it all back or not, but believe me I was keeping track!
I needed about twenty more stuffs, things that I put some effort into, to make a good showing.
By the second day, our shelves were sort of bare.
MFK and I were talking and it seems like every year we talk about cranking stuff out and filling them shelves and every year we end up scrambling to make stuff.
Okay, next year I'll be ready!
I did get lot o'compliments on my goofy teapots and that was nice.
I need to make up more business cards and let folks know where I'm going to be hawking my ware for a lot of people asked where I'd be selling my stuff next.
Sort of makes me feel like I need to be doing this more often.
So tiring as it was to sit under that tent for two days, I had a good time!
I'm already looking forwards to next year, and hopefully we'll plan ahead and have full shelves.
Today is the last day of vacation.
Oh boy.
I have mixed feelings as I'm really excited to get going but at the same time I'm starting to get nervous.
Pre-game jitters.
Buterflies and all that.
Okay, not really.
It is starting to keep up and night, not knowing exactly what I'm in for, but I'm up for the challenge!
Tomorrow we have a general staff meeting then I guess more meetings and stuff.
Wednesday is our first work day.
The kids come in next week.
So I gotta go hit up the teacher store and get some teacher supplies and get myself ready to go.
More on that later.
Anyways, time to iron my clothes and clean my car and put all my socks in one place and rearrange the stuff in my bag and all that stuff.
I already cut my hair.
I'm a role model now don't you know.
New shoes for tomorrow:

I hope I can get to sleep tonight.
If you know what I mean.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hot Friday Night Action!

Oh yeah baby!
HOT action on a Friday night!
After I finished my oil change, I met up with My Friend Kyle(MFK), you know, to see what he was up to.
I cruised on over to Kaneohe, back to my old stomping grounds, back to where I learned my craft.
School is out right now, but hey! we're special.
Anyways, the kiln was a going:

That's a bottom loading raku kiln.
Bottom loading for the the whole kiln moves up and you can pull your pots right off the bottom of the kiln.
More on that later.
The kiln he's using is made out of wire mesh and refractory fibre so it's pretty light and easy to handle.
Raku fires to about the same temperature my kilns, only this uses gas to we can crank up the heat fairly quickly:

The procedure and meaning of raku has been Westernized, but the process is still fairly close.
Once the glazes flux and temperature is reached, MFK starts preparing the reduction cans:

Which are basically small trash cans lined with paper.
You can use anything that burns, the idea being to start a combustion in there so while the glaze is still fluxed, you try and pull some oxygen molecules from it.
Hence the reduction.
Okay, here we go!

Hot action!
Those pots are at about 1900 degrees F!
Once they've reduced in the can, you pull them out to see what you got:

If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see the metallic patinas and the crackle in the white.
I used to do a lot of raku, not so much anymore.
Well okay, I don't raku at all.
Not if I can help it anyways.
Boy, now I smell like smoke.
Time to load up as we leave early tomorrow morning.
Going to the art fair!

How It's Stacked Up

Time to get ready for the show!
I mean craft fair thingy.
Art fair.
So I was thinking maybe some you, the readers, might not know exactly what the hell I'm talking about when I well, talk about loading a kiln.
I mean you gotta sort of know what you're doing, you don't just pile things in and hope for the best.
Well okay, you sort of do but stacking a kiln take some practice.
So this is the kiln:

It's a called a top loader for obvious reasons and it has a capacity of about ten cubic feet.
You don't use all that space for there's some furniture that goes in it.
Top shelf, where I put stuff that wouldn't get damaged by falling dust:

Those things the pots are sitting on are called kiln shelves.
They are made out of some refractory material, I think in this case mullite, but there are some nicer shelves made out of silica carbide.
The kiln is about 27 inches deep, so there's more under there:

You take all the stuff out of the top and start pulling shelves.
The shelves sit on those square looking thingys called posts.
There's one more layer under that one.
Those are the refired bowls I did, and none of them came out okay:

Pinholes in the glaze.
There are a lot of reasons why that happens, and the potter has to sort of investigate by trial and error what's causing them.  They aren't good for sometimes the bubbles have sharp edges, think glass, and food can get stuck in them which is not very sanitary.
All of this low fire stuff is glazed all over, even the bottoms, so I have to set them on stilts, which are three footed wire thingys, so that the bottoms don't actually touch the shelf.
One bowl actually got tipped over and stuck to the shelf on top:

Add that one to the reject pile!
Which grows and grows.
The reject pile I mean.
I expect about a ten to twenty percent loss for each firing which is not that bad.  I used to toss out about a third just because they didn't pass my Intensive Inspection Process(IIP).
My Wonderbread bowls came out okay:

Now it's time to pack it all up as I leave on morn to hit the Haleiwa Arts Festival.
Two days of shmarming with potential victi-uh I mean patrons and hawking my stuff.
Well, nobody said the bicycle bling was free.
If you know what I mean.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Final Push

Or Waiting Until the Last Minute.
Which is what I did.
Today is the just about the last day to fire the Big Kiln as it takes so long to hit temperature and cool down.
Fortunately I only have a few things left to glaze:

Unfortunately, I have some bowls that need refiring:

For some unexplained reason, I'm getting some glaze flaws, mainly something called pinholes where the glaze bubbles and doesn't smooth over.
Could be a lot of reasons, mostly due to heat, but I haven't quite figured it out and I haven't had the time to really look at the problem closely.
The Big Kiln has also been a problem as it's so old it keeps dropping dust on the top shelf every time I close the lid and the dust settles in the bottoms of the pieces.
Not good.
So now I can't load all the way to the top; I have to use the top shelves as covers to protect the bowls from falling debris.
Which means I've had rejects:

That stack may grow if the refires don't work out.
The rejects are mostly from the falling dust and the pinhole problems.
Too bad for one or two of them I sort of liked, but they are not quite ready for Prime Time.
If you know what I mean.
Okay, I better get going cause I only have like 17 bowls done:

I have another box o'bowls from last year so I'll maybe have around 40 items ready to go by Friday night.
It may sound like a lot but once you get them on the shelves, lemme tell you it doesn't look like much.
I hope My Friend Kyle(MFK) is working hard on his side!
Back a glazin I go!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's Not to Like?

It's getting harder to resist.
Oh lemme tell you, I'm trying with all my might!
I'm closing my eyeballs and covering my ears, you know, going like lalalalalalalalalala.
It's not helping.
Maybe I should put some cloves of garlic around my neck:

It's sort of like riding past the ice cream place every day.
You know you shouldn't, but eventually you will.
If you know what I mean.
Mr. Flat, what the hell are talking about?
What am I talking about?
I'm talking about those pesky Italians!
Of course.

Still don't know what I mean?
Lemme show you:

Oh Bikeradar, why do I gaze upon your eVilness?
Why do I subject myself to the newfangledness of blingness when I know, I know I am weak.
I cannot resist the lure of the Italian electronic goodness!
You, the reader, who may be able to resist, can read about it here.
Now if you've been following along at home, you know that I've sort of been thinking about upgrading my group.
I've been seriously thinking about going to Record, you know, just for the hell of it.
Campagnolo also has a new 52/36 crankset that looks pretty nice, especially for me since a 53/39 is a bit too pro, and a compact is a bit too small.
Actually I was going with Chorus, but then I figured what the hell, you only live once.
So anyways, I've been looking around, drooling over the Italian Carbon Goodness, when like a bolt of lighting from Mount Olympus, or Mount Etna or Mount Vesuvius where ever, the folks at Campagnolo drop Athena EPS on me.
Okay let's be practical.
Let's be realistic.
I want it.
Do I need it?
That's the question.
For one thing, I don't really shift a whole lot.  I mean I might shift four times over my usual route, not out of necessity, but more like just fooling around.
I mean I got the gears, I might as well use them.
Even on these other rides I go on, I mostly stay in one or two cogs, happily spinning away.
So what do I need EPS for?
The Bling!
The Bling man where have you been?
Have you been reading this blog?
Let me say it again: image is everything!
Besides I'm such a gizmo geek that if I can add some gizmos to my bicycle well, why not?
Okay, I'm probably not going to get that newfangled stuff, being sort a purist at heart.
On the other hand, it's new, it's cool, it's gizmolicious, and best of all it's Campagnolo!
What's not to like?
Besides, best of all, it will probably be affordable to mere mortals.
So this is what's keeping me up at night.
I mean besides the event planning and new job and world peace.
I should just get it and put myself out of my misery.
Or not.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Or, My Last Unofficial Field Trip.
Which is what I went on this morning.
A sort of pre beginning of school trip with the Media class, the folks I was working with at school who did the morning television thingy.
I mostly went because it was an opportunity to go behind the scenes at the local tv station:

I'm not officially at that school anymore, but I had committed to go a couple of weeks back.
So anyways, off we went!
They were broadcasting the Sunrise Show at the time:

It was really cool!
We got to watch them do an interview and the news and the weather.
Which by the way surprised me as the weather person spent the whole time off camera actually researching the weather at his own computer station.
The control room where the director and producer sit:

If you squint yer eyeballs you can see that each screen has like twenty different little screens all showing different things.  The two screens on the left have the live feed and a screen that shows what's cued up next.
This station actually a combination of three stations, with two different networks.
The Sunrise Show is produced locally, the other two stations were broadcasting network stuff.
Don't ask me how that came about, but they share a common news room:

Here we are, mingling with the talent:

The sound dude sits in a separate room:

He was really nice as he found me some batteries after my camera died.
Thanks sound dude!
There was also a room where all the live and satellite feeds come in.
The wall o'electronics:

Because of the time difference, shows being broadcast now are recorded and played back later.
I don't even want to think about the kind of storage capacity they have!
Interestingly, there are still a lot of old video tapes sitting around as they haven't yet converted everything to digital:

Seriously, there were tons of Betamax tapes sitting around!
Upstairs we went to see some production stuff, you know, where they put together commercials and promo spots.
Anyways, the kids did great asking a lot of questions about pathways into the industry and what kind of courses they should take in college and how hard is it to become an anchor person.
I think it's awesome that they aspire to such lofty goals.
Anyways, thanks to all at Hawaii News Now for letting us take a peek behind the scenes.
I'm going to miss those kids.
Sort of.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Final

Today was Hele On Kailua meeting day.
I'm telling you, time is just flying by!
We are now 42 days out and counting and it seems like the list of things we need to take care of never ends.
The things I cross off never seems to catch up to the things that get added on.
Which may not be a good thing as I go back to work in eight days and I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have once school starts.
I mean my responsibilities are different now and I need to put first things first.
If you know what I mean.
We finally have some other folks from Kailua involved, or at least interested so that may help out some.
Our main concern is still funding, something we are very much lacking.
We are waiting on two major sponsors, waiting to see what kind monetary donations we are getting besides the volunteer and other contributions they are making.
One of the big hold ups for us is the IRS approval thing as most places want all your paperwork together.
A couple of places have given us funds considering our IRS thing as pending and applied for, but others need to see the Federal tax thingy.
In some ways, I can see now how we as a group, rushed into all of this.
Good intentions are sometimes just that, and it would have helped us if we had someone with more experience in putting something like this together.
Actually it's not really the logistical part of the event, more the fund raising and making contacts.
Our timing is not exactly great either as all the politicos are running for re-election right now and the House and Senates seats are basically open.
Still, the City and County backing has helped us with the permitting and the hiring of Special Duty Officers for traffic.
The state Department of Health is now onboard, giving us some funds and some water bottles to give away.
The DOH is also running the B-Cycle program in Kailua and they are looking at ways to promote their bicycle kiosks.
Things are slowly coming together.
The key word being slowly.
I get the feeling that we'll be putting this together up until event minus one day and that my hopes of having all the commitments from the vendors will not get done as planned.
I've also been thinking some about the overall mission of the event.
I think we need to look at different initiatives, not just bicycling and health and fitness.
Perhaps if we got the green folks, the sustainability folks involved, we could reach a whole new demographic of people and possible sponsors.
I think that closed streets thing is great, but we need to make some revisions so that it caters particulary towards the way the city and our streets are set up.
We'll have time to think about it after this is all over.
For now though, I have this week and a couple of days next week to clear my work sheet:

That's only the first page.
Make that I'll try my best to clear my worksheet.
As long as nothing else gets thrown my way.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday Early Edition

Yesterday I ran out of glaze.
Which prompted a trip over the hill into town for more clear goodness.
To be honest I'm getting sort of tired of making white bowls.
Okay, they got some color on the inside, but they look sort of plain and I'm not known for plain.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, after I got back I had to do some more work on the Big Kiln.
The lid on that thing must weigh in at around twenty or thirty pounds and there's no way of holding it open.
The place where it was parked before was close to a wall so the lid was just opened and leaned back.
Well, there's no wall where it is now and that makes loading it up an adventure.
So my solution was to make a hanger thingy:

The lid is just a bit shy of upright so there isn't a ton of stress on the hanger thingy.
I used to prop the lid up with a stick but that was precarious at best so getting that lid up and out of the way has made loading the Big Kiln a breeze.
Which I did yesterday.
Loaded it up I mean.
The last firing I did took about ten hours, which to me is a long time for an electric kiln.
Then again it's about ten cubic feet large so I suppose it does take some time.
Here's all the heat leaking out from under the lid:

Not a pretty sight.
At least for me.
I'd like that lid to sit flush but that ain't happening as the edge of rim has been worn down over the years and I'd have to shave off about a quarter inch all around.
You can see two vent ports on the left.
I'm thinking of maybe trashing this kiln and saving up for something a bit smaller, maybe around seven cubes, something with the same height but smaller in width.
The Big Kiln reaching temp:

Okay so I got about another 15 stuffs to glaze so I better get going!
Maybe two more firings, one more glaze and another just in case, you know, if anything needs to be fired again.
Having the Big Kiln helps as I can probably fit all 15 stuffs in there at once, with some room to spare.
It also allows me to work on larger things, which is a good thing since the Hawaii Craftsman show is coming up.
Maybe the ability to work big will inspire me.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Oh yeah baby!
Two more weeks!
Actually first day back is on the 24th and lemme tell you I can't wait.
The Flat Tire is expanding:

Finally got a look at the room I'll be in.
Oh yeah baby the new Flat Tire Remote Command Center(FTRCC)!
Not too shabby for a first year probi.
Well okay, it's not my room.
I have to share.
I also  have a CTE class to do and I'm using another classroom for that too.
It's not too bad though for the other class is right next door.
I don't know for sure exactly what I'm teaching and where for I haven't got any schedules or anything.
The new school I'm at is another urban school smack dab in the middle of Honolulu, one of the older schools on the island.
I'm just in one of the newer buildings.
I think I have all the beginning photo classes as there is another teacher doing the advanced stuff.
A curriculum is already in place though there is room for some improvisation.
Which is my middle name don't you know.
Now I'm not so worried about putting lesson plans together and figuring out a semester plan and all that.
We even have a text:

Which really helps for it means all the students can be on the same page, so to speak, and it will help me indoctrinate them young minds in The Way of the Flat Tire(TWOTFT).
Assimilate or fail.
I also need to find a place to hang the flag:

You know, so they can pledge allegiance.
There are like six point and shoot cameras for the students, cameras that can be set to manual so they can fool around with shutter and f/stops and stuff, and six computer stations all running Photo Shop.
To tell you the truth, I was hoping for a bit more, but this is more than the last photo class I was in.
So I'm all ready to go!
Sort of.
I mean right now, after meeting with the fellow who taught this last year, I feel more like a plug and play teacher rather than one having a go at it from scratch.
Which is good thing for I need all the help I can get.
It could also be a bad thing, teaching someone else's curriculum, but I'll reserve comments until I really get going.
Anyways, I am so freaking stoked!
I can't wait for summer to be over!
I also can't believe I just said that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Signed, Sealed.....

Not yet delivered.
First day back is July 24.
For teachers.
Usually I go in on the 25, the day after, but this year, OMG! I go in with all the other teacher folks!
I'm so happy I could, I could, I could - I'm so happy!
All this happiness came about by accident.
First of all, I was feeling pretty sad I got turned down earlier last month for a teaching position right in Flat Tire Land.
It was not to be.
I wasn't really looking forwards to going back to doing what I was doing but I like where I work and the teachers I work with.
Then I get another interview call, for Home Economics of all things.
Still, a job is a job so okay! I'll be there.
Well it turned out the position was for Culinary Arts, you know, cooking!
Can I cook?
I mean I'm pretty desperate for a job.
Don't you know.
So anyways, we interview since I'm there, and we get talking about some stuff and photography comes up.
Two things happened that I think were bits o'luck.
The principal held the interview and the fact that I got called in.
Well I know I ain't getting this job for I admit that I'm not very qualified.
Still you never know if the school is desperate or not.
So I go along my merry way, thinking I better think of something for summer is almost over.
I mean whether or not I'm going back to school in my present position.
Then about a week later the said principa calls me backl telling me I didn't get the cooking job(no really?) and asking if I'm interested in interviewing for the photography teacher job.
Am I interested?
Hell freakin yes!
Okay, I didn't say that.
I did reply in the affirmative very enthusiastically.
So I go in and answer all the same questions for if you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that all the questions are standardized.
Only this interview goes sort of on the quick side, I'm getting pretty good at answering these questions, and when I leave I'm not feeling so good.
The thing about teaching here is that when positions open, principals pull a bunch of names out of a pool of qualified candidates and he is obligated to interview them all even if he already has someone in mind.
So most of the time, in my experience, these interview are like spinning my wheels.
Going through the motions if you will, as the position is already filled and I'm just another name on the list.
There's another mark against me if the open position is not in my program area which in my case is sculpture or ceramics.
So anyways, I get home and I'm watching Law & Order, Netfilx is great cause now Law & Order is on demand, and about three hours later I'm get a call.
Now usually these call backs dont' happen for a week or so since they have to interview all the folks on the list but the list must have been short for I was offered the teaching job!
Now let me stop right here.
Have you ever had a dream and been close to it but never quite attained it?
This is how it's been for me for these last four years.
I mean I work in the classroom but I'm not doing what I was trained to do.
Sort of like training to be a jet pilot but only being allowed to fill the plane with gas.
So after I replied in the affirmative very enthusiastically I just sat there for a minute.
You know, to let it all sink in.
In fact I'm still letting it all sink in even after signing the paperwork and resigning my old position.
Oh Boy!
Tha'ts a happy Oh Boy! and not a sad oh boy.
So now I'm all stoked and ready to get going and I wish school started like tomorrow and I got like a GAGILLION ideas about what I'm going to do and I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about photography and I"m finding that I really need to work on my Power Point skilz and I suppose I need a new camera.
You know, one that's all pro.
So before I even think about Super Record or any Italian carbon goodness, cause my compensation is almost tripling, I need to take a look at some Japanese digital goodness from Nikon or Canon.
More on this later.
Boy lemme tell you, I'm one happy dude.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Averting Disaster!

Kind of.
I mean I didn't really do anything to avert and I only found out about it this morning.
If you've been following along at home, you the reader, know that yesterday was the inaugural firing of the Big Kiln.
Which hadn't been fired in like ten years.
Or so.
Anyways when I opened the lid to take a peek, horror of horrors!

One of the kiln elements had popped out of its non existent groove and fallen on the kiln shelf!
I'd never seen that happen.
Then again, I suppose strange things happen when you heat them puppies up to like 2000 degrees.
If you squint yer eyeballs you can see some wire thingys in the brick that were supposed to be holding that element in.
I need to address that before I fire up again.
I only fired two pots, but I loaded the kiln up with furniture, the shelves and posts thingys, the dry them out.
The half of the kiln under them pots are just empty shelves.
Now I gotta get a glazing!
I did try to make some vases this morning, but I just wasn't feeling it so I stopped wasting my time:

Make that three vases and a bottle.
Things were going so bad I decided to well, get a glazing!
Which I promise to do right after I get done writing this.
Anyways, tomorrow I go into Honolulu to go and see about my future.
My whole life hangs in the balance.
So to speak.
Meanwhile, I've been boning up on some stuff I need to know:

I've already subscribed to some other magazines.
You know, so I can be all pro.
Not that the pictures I take now aren't pro already.
Okay, they aren't.
Pro I mean.
Well, I haven't been writing too much about bicycling lately.
Okay, make that nothing about bicycling lately, but I have been thinking about it:

I need to get away from the clay and Hele On Kailua for a day, and that day is coming soon!
My poor display bicycles.
All dressed up and no where to go.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Final

Today turned into clean up day.
By accident.
This morning, I worked on the Big Kiln, but wasn't able to close up that gap all the way.
I wasn't able to see the high spot too well but I did get parts of the lid to sit flush.
So anyways, I loaded it up, with two pots, and fired it up!

Each box controls each ring of the kiln, so that you can fire each zone differently, if one chooses.
These controls aren't automatic like on the Small Kiln so I have to turn each ring up manually.
So while I was waiting to see if it all worked or not, I decided to do some rearranging of the gara-uh, studio.
Sort of organized it:

Oh yeah baby!
All it need is some white bar tape and I'll look all pro!
Finally, some method to my madness.
Don't you know.
Hey Mr. Flat, why don't you clean the top of the wheel thingy?
I'm glad you asked!
I'm sort of leaving it all there until I'm done trimming, just to see how much clay I waste.
Those trimming thingys can be recycled, but I'm too lazy.
So then while the kiln was firing up, I figured I better get a glazing too.
Blobs and Dots v1.2:

Maybe I should call it Snakes and Stars.
I did a few more bowls like this, each one a bit differently.
I still don't like it, but I'm getting closer.
So anyways, about six hours later, the kiln looked like this:

Getting nice and toasty in there!
I'm not sure how long it will take to reach temperature, for this firing around 1940 F, the hottest I go with this clay.
I still need to do something about that gap; hopefully it's not letting too much cool air in.
If the Big Kiln does its job, I'll be able to fire ten to twenty pots per load, and I won't be under so much pressure.
Time to pray to the kiln gods.

Sunday Early Edition

Time to get a going!
I'm about two weeks out from the Haleiwa Art Festival and so far I have two bowls glazed.
Not a good thing.
I still need to make another twenty pieces, mainly vases and bottles, and I'm not sure I've got enough time.
It will all depend on whether or not the Big Kiln is good to go.
Which I have to work on today.
The Big Kiln was moved here from where it was about eight years ago and it hasn't been fired since.
I needed to hook up the 220v line and I wasn't really working with clay at the time.
I just never needed it.
So now that the pressure is on well, I need it.
The other problem with it was during the move, some things got shifted out of whack and that's what I need to address today:

As you can see, the lid isn't sitting well and there is some air between the lid and the top ring of the kiln.
Openings like this aren't good for it's better to have a good seal so the kiln can reach temperature faster.
I don't want any heat leaking out.
So I went and got the kiln repair tool:

The kiln is made up of high temperature soft brick, which is sort of like pumice, so it forms rather easily.
I just need to find the high spots and work them down to close that gap.
Hopefully I'll get it done and fire the Big Kiln up today.
A test firing.
Speaking of firings, my Blobs and Dots(BAD) design bows came out this morning.
While they aren't exactly good, they aren't exactly BAD:

I"m not really happy with the way they turned out, but I'm not really disappointed either.
I just need to work on the placement of the BADs a bit and I think they'll look okay.
Each bowl will be unique with no two designs being the same.
I'll do a couple more in red and I'm thinking of using black(cow pattern bowl), blue, orange and some lime green.
Or whatever other color I have handy.
If you know what I mean.
Okay, off I go!
Zen and the art of kiln repair.
Or something like that.