Saturday, September 29, 2012

First Quarter Report

It's over.
Now I have a week to think about what I did and how I can make it better.
I mean I knew I was going to make mistakes going in, I just tried to make sure none of those mistakes were game changers, if you will.
Luckily, I had a ton of help from the teachers I work with on curriculum.
Unfortunately, they aren't with me in the classroom and managing a class is most of the real work.
So how did I do?
I suppose my successes and failures are all in the numbers:

Which as expected are in a sort of bell curve.
Okay, not really.
My results are top heavy which I suppose is good thing as opposed to being bottom heavy.
We, the teachers I mean, are supposed to be thinking of the two Rs, relevance and rigor, and our curriculum is to reflect the two.
Let's face it though, this is art and not rocket science.
On the other hand, it's not supposed to be a walk in the park.
Anyways, there's still a lot to learn and a lot to do.
I have to find time for more individual conferences and I have to set some time aside to make calls to home.
I have been blessed by five classes with mostly good kids, but there are the ones that are trying hard to fail.
I admit though that most of this quarter has been a bit of a whirlwind, implementing the lessons and navigating my way through all the paper work.
I can see where I need to work on some things, things that I can no longer set aside for later.
I try to manage my class time well, but I need to do better.
So is it what I expected?
Yes and no.
The good part is that I really enjoy showing up for work.  Everyday is different, new challenges and problems and rewards.
Lemme tell you, that makes a difference when you wake up in the morning.
On the other hand, there's like tons of paper work and meetings and other non teaching stuff to take care of.  I'm not complaining mind you as that's all part of the job, but they do get in the way of the primary mission.
If you know what I mean.
I gotta say though, it's a bit different doing something where making money is not the bottom line.  I mean in a way you are producing a product, but you don't always have control over the product you produce.
You can lead the goat to the grass, but that doesn't always mean it will eat it.
The grass I mean.
No matter how great a shepherd you are, not all the herd is going to follow and you will get some strays.  I suppose it's how you deal with them strays is what matters.
Anyways,  I got a week off now to think about the next quarter.
Which will probably go by faster than I'd like.
So many kids, so little time.
Or something like that.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Boy, the eighties.
Do you remember?
Def Leppard!
Oh yeah, Pyromania!
Awesome album.
Not what this is about.
So today, this evening I mean, was sort of the culmination of a week of stuffs at school.  Tomorrow is homecoming, you know, the big game.
Sort of.
I mean we don't really go on road trips, since even our home games are sort of a road trip, still all the schools have a homecoming game.
A tradition don't you know.
All week we had some goofy stuff going on during lunch and today after school we had a shindig that ended with the some fire.
The high school I attended also had a burning thing, but in those days the rival school came down to our school and burned a rather large P in the middle of our field.
No, the name of my school did not start with the letter P.
We had a sort of emergency assembly the next day and the headmaster threatened anyone who was even thinking of retaliation.
We were supposed to be above all that.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, tonight was more of a controlled burn, with the fire department standing by.
We had food booths and entertainment and such before the big event.
The crowd getting restless:

Hang on!
Here it comes!

Oh yeah baby!
There she goes!

That was pretty cool!
So the band played and the football team did a haka, a polynesian dance thingy and all the girls screamed.
At least they screamed outside and not inside the gym.
Screaming girls inside a gym, boy that'll rattle your brain!
Good sized crowd and good school spirit:

Kinda makes me wish I had graduated high school.
Sort of.
Okay, big game tomorrow.
Not sure if I'm a gonna make, but I'm a gonna try.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Volley the Ball

Or volleyball for short.
Which is not appropriate for today's game since there is very little volleying going on.
More like spikeball.
Or something.
So I had been wanting to catch a volleyball game at school, you know since I went to a football game I gotta go and see the girls too.
Besides I kinda like women's volleyball which is nothing like high school volleyball where the ball is volleyed around quite often.
Compared to women's volleyball I mean.
Anyways, volleyball is pretty big around these parts, you see it being played all over the place especially at the beach.
Which is sort of what high school volleyball looks like.
It's being played at the beach I mean.
Okay, not really.
Well, sort of.
I mean the varsity girls sort of look like college players, just a bit slower and without the power, but the JV and the other team, since so many girls go out, there's like three teams, they look like well, beach volleyball.
Like me and my friends playing beach volleyball I mean.
Okay, I shouldn't say that, but no really the game goes by pretty fast for let me put it this way: the girls aren't very skilled.
I shouldn't say that either, but over here the University of Hawaii Wahine volleyball team is like ranked every year so I suppose I am a bit spoiled.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, I didn't mean to get all into the skill level and stuff, I wanted to talk about the students that play.
I mean they just play!
For like nothing!
No scholarships, no money and for the JV and the other team, sometimes no spectators.
Okay, there were like ten folks in the stands during the early games.
There should be more for I found out that at all these high school games, the food is really good and cheap.
Well it's cheap:

I got that chili and hot dog plate and a can of pop for less than five bucks!
What a deal!
Okay, it's like canned chili and all but the hotdogs are like, hotdogs.
So anyways, the crowd was pretty good cause it was Senior Night, the last time the seniors play at home:

The seniors had a little party after the game but I gave up the camera to one of my students and I haven't loaded up the pictures yet.
Oh, they actually played a game:

I never took pictures at a volleyball game before and lemme tell you, it's a different animal.
I mean you have to follow the action and anticipate the shot or the play and just fire away and hope you get something good.
I am actually contemplating a fast long lens, just for shooting indoors.
I suppose I should get a camera first.
Anyways, our team lost, but that didn't stop the seniors from celebrating.
I gotta say, I respect these kids.
I spent about 13 hours at school today, and as I was walking to my car it hit me that so did they.
I never really thought about high school sports too much but after going to some games I see it in a different light.
Those kids just go out and play because they like to play.
I figure ninety percent won't play beyond this level, but they go out and give it their best shot.
Win or lose they leave it all out there.
I wish it was the same in the classroom, but it's good to see that they can get passionate about something besides texting or video games.
I suppose it's my job to fan that flame in the classroom and see how hot I can get it to burn.
More on burning stuff later.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Filling up the Card

The flash card that is.
So this weekend, I went to another football game, this time with a couple few of my students in tow.
First time on the field and all that.
Well we were at the enemy's field, a school located on the other side of town, closer to where I used to work.
This school has a sort reputation of being well, let's say well financed since the district it's in is higher income.
I mean the school is nice.
Really nice.
So, the boys taking the field during the JV game:

You can see Tripler Army Medical Center on the hill up in the right corner.
So the kids got these Nikon P410/510 P&S to use and it's a pretty good camera with some super zoom.
It has a sports setting, but I hardly use it and to be honest I haven't really looked at the owners manual.
Which I should have.
Looked at the owners manual I mean.
I'm not taking too many images for I'm sort of watching to make sure none of my students gets run over or anything.
Pre game:

Now I got three kids out there somewhere taking pictures.
I was a bit worried for they were taking a lot of pictures, and the game pretty much didn't even start yet!

As you can see, there are some condos that surround the field and I didn't like them in the background so my shots were limited.
I mean I took some shots, but most of them I didn't like.
My students doing their thing:

Again I spent most of my time keeping an eyeball on them, especially since were the visitors, admin didn't want them behind the enemy bench.  I also had to keep reminding them to keep an eyeball on the action since sometimes you are so focused on the picture, you forget about what's going on around you.
I almost got run over myself!
So Mr. Flat, what's with the filling card thing?
Oh yeah, I almost forgot!
Well when I got into school this morning to load the pictures up, the computer wasn't recognizing the cameras.
Well okay, they were, it was just taking a while.
Two cameras had over 500 images each on them and wait for it, the other had 1100 pictures!
Seems the Nikons have this setting that acts like a stop motion thing and well, you get the picture.
Get it? get the picture? 1100 images? pictures?
So anyways, tomorrow is volleyball senior night and this week is Homecoming so there's some cool events planned.
Meanwhile, wait for my first quarter report on being a new teacher.
Lemme tell you, there's been some ups and downs.
Mostly ups though.
I'm still stoked to be doing what I'm doing which is what I should have been doing when I wasn't doing this.
If you know what I mean.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Game Film

I mean bits.
As in more mega bits of the game I went to last Saturday:

Pre game huddle after the JV game.
The sun is starting to get low and cast shadows on the field.
Some of the shots just called for black and white, especially later when I started using the stadium lights.

Taking these shots were the hardest for there are about a GAGILLION folks on the field!
Besides the refs you got all sorts of people following the ball, worst blockers are actually school officials like vice principals!
I managed to squeeze a few shots off.
More field shots:

The crowd was decent even though the two schools are from different divisions.
In fact it was the school I was at last year against my new school!

We, the new school, weren't doing so good against the old school.
The old school is actually ranked number 2 in the state right now and despite the loss, we, the new school didn't get run over.
Which is a good thing.
Still, things weren't so happy on the new school side:

There are a couple of images I'm pretty happy with that I don't feel comfortable about showing on the nets.
Our quarterback wasn't having a good game so I decided to sort of watch him to see if I could get any sideline emotion.
One of the linemen went over and started talking to the QB telling him that the offense was still behind him and that he was their quarterback and not to give up.
Pretty moving stuff for high school.
Anyways I caught some of that exchange, which I think looks pretty dramatic.
Which is what I was going for, not so much the action on the field, but I was trying to catch the mood, the feel of what was going on.
There's another game on Saturday and I'm hoping to take along a couple of the kids.
You know, on the field.
Now that I've done a football game I've got a better feel for what I want to get on film.
I mean bits.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Final

I need to rest my eyeballs.
No really.
My nephew had a birthday party at an indoor putt putt place called Glow Putt, aptly named:

I'm not going back there any time soon.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, so yesterday I went and took some pictures at the football game, using three cameras.
Lemme tell you, I know a lot more about what I want in camera.
I mean I took a little over three hundred images last night using all three cameras and now I see some strengths and weaknesses.
My carry all the time camera:

My Nikon Coolpix expired a couple of weeks ago and did a hasty search for a new pocket camera, one I would also take on my bicycle rides.
When and if I ever ride my bicycle again.
I didn't really do any research, well not much anyways, for I saw this on sale at the local office supply place.
It was on close out for it has already been replaced by a new Elph model, the 110.
I only wanted a cheap camera so that if I crashed, I wouldn't be crying  too hard.
Well at a hunski, it wasn't really cheap, but cheap enough and slick enough,  I mean PRO, that I picked it up anyways.
First of all, it's a really nice camera and it takes really nice images.
It has all the bells and whistles most cameras of that size have, the only drawback is size.
It's smaller than my Coolpix was and I find it hard to get a good grip on.
Because it's so small, the controls are small too and it's a bit difficult to navigate through the features.  No way with full fingered gloves.
On the other hand, it has a CMOS thingy and decent low light performance at f/2.8.
I used it last night after my other camera died.
Well, it didn't actually die:

It's just making really bad grinding noises now when the lens goes in and out.
Top of the line P&S when it came out, my S5is is over five years old.
Which is like 1,000,000 in camera years.
If you know what I mean.
At only 8 megapixels, it takes really nice pictures, I figure because of the larger glass, and is also packed with all sorts of doodads that I never use.  It has 12x zoom which I like but is considered middle of the road now as far as zoomba cameras go and there are pockets with more than 20x zooms now.
It has a flip out LCD which I really like for you can hold it over your head or on the ground or around corners if you wanted to and still frame your shot.
The only thing I don't like about it is that it only shoots like 1 frame per second, or something like that anyways, it's really slow.
About to be retired because of the grinding noises and for something more PRO.
Like this:

An older Canon EOS Rebel from school.
This camera too may be around four or five years old, the Xsi became available around the same time I got the camera above.
Basic DSLR with more stuff than I could ever think of using while actually taking pictures.
The 55-250 zoom was a burden for the field of view was like looking through a pipe although the magnification helped for across the field shots.
Not as big and bulky as I thought.
I did have a problem navigating through the menu though and shot half the night in the incorrect white balance.  I finally figured out how to turn on the auto right before I left for home.
I really liked using it though I would have liked it better if I had a shorter, faster lens too.
So what did I learn?
A DSLR ain't so bad, not if all you are there for is taking pictures.
A PRO camera.
I looked at them mirror less cameras by the way, and I don't think I could live without a view finder and the lens' are just as huge so the nod goes to the DSLR.
I need to rethink the whole mega zoom range and look again at field of view or lack there of.
When you don't have it, you really miss it.
My present camera is too small.
Great as it is, I should have held it and fooled around with more before I got it.  For whatever reason, it's difficult to operate one handed, a must for riding around on the bicycle.  I suppose I'll get used to it, but I already have my eyeballs on something else.
So I'm thinking of getting a DSLR after all, the question is which one?
More on this later.
Anyways, one PRO camera and one pocket PRO camera should be enough to satisfy my voyeuristic needs for now.
The pocket P&S have really evolved over the years and for what they can do, they are not that far away from mid range mega zooms what with the CMOS detectors and all.
Now comes the hard part.
Choosing one.
This may take a while.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday Early Edition

Yeppers, I managed all three in one night.
Yesterday, since I wasn't really doing anything and since I was in town to check out some cameras and since I had to go back to school to pick up my old camera, I decided to go to a football game.
We don't usually play on Saturdays and I can't make Friday night games so off I went!

Players lined up walking into the "stadium."
The field where we play was renovated with help from the NFL as I believe four schools use it as their "home" field.  It's built on a hill side so there are seats only on one side.
Alma Mater:

I got there early for the JV game and spent most of the time wandering the concourse sideline.  I went up in the stands once, just to get a feel of what was going on.
By the time the varsity game started, the sun was setting but it was right in front of me so I mostly fooled around with the pictures.
I didn't get on the field until around the middle of the first quarter, telling the security guard that I was with the yearbook folks.
Early action:

Later action:

Food in the middle action:

Some hamburger curry to start of with.  I meant to go back, but the concession closed after half time.
I'll have to remember that for next time.
One more:

I must have walked around the field five times, trying to get different angles, but I had trouble with the camera(s) I was using.
I had with me my pocket Canon Power Shot Elph 100, my old Canon S5Is and a Canon EOS Rebel Xsi with a 55-250 zoomba, which is the school's camera.
I wasn't going to bring my cameras, but I was glad I did since the long lens on the Rebel prevented any wide angle shots and found myself going back to my cameras frequently.
In fact I managed to break my S5 along the way.
More on that later.
Also later is a report on the cameras and the troubles I had and what worked and what didn't.
Maybe a few more images too.
Off I go to Glow Putt!
Don't ask.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that I haven't been posting up much lately.
Well, I've been busy!
Don't you know.
Actually busy with work and all that comes with it.
I don't really take any work home with me except for the occasional grade entries so it's not like I'm doing stuff when I get home.
Mostly I sleep.
I get most of the paper work done in the mornings as I'm at school before 7am.  That gives me an hour and a half or so to fill in the boxes and make copies and design sinister lessons for the kids.
Okay, not really.
About the sinister part.
More like torturous.
At least according to some of them.
I've sort of begun to catch my stride so to speak and things are running a bit more smoothly.
Kind of.
I teach the same class four times and each class is different, dynamics and all that, so sometimes it's a struggle keeping all them classes in line.
I'm sure I'll figure it out.
Anyways, it's been a while, too long perhaps, but yes it's Quest time again!
I haven't been on a good Quest since oh, the Quest for Frame and things were getting a bit boring so here we go again!
Quest for Pics!
Or Camera if you prefer.
That's right quest fans, it's time for a new camera!
I just bought a new camera.
I'd have some pics for you, but my other camera is at school, and I keep forgetting to take pics of the new one.
My other camera expired so I went and got another P&S for you know, point and shoot work.
Well it has come to my attention that my other camera, the one at school, is like a GAGILLION years old and it only takes like 2 mega pixel images and it only zooms like 1x so it's like time for a new other camera.
Besides, the new camera has all sorts of newfangled stuff on it, sort like the old other camera, which also had all sorts of newfangled stuff on it when I got it but now it's all oldfangled stuff.
So I figure a new camera has all sorts of newfangled stuff, more newfangled stuff than the camera I got since the camera I got is already obsolete and it was really cheap.
Sort of.
About the cheap part.
Well, I don't want to break the bank seeing as how these cameras sort of go obsolete every year, on the other hand I need a camera that at least looks PRO.
Image and image capture are everything.
Don't you know.
Now I don't need no DSLR, too big and bulky and I'm not that serious about taking pictures.
So I was thinking of getting another mega zoom P&S or one of them new mirror less thingamabobs.
As I said before, I been busy sleeping and mostly reading up about all these cameras trying to decide which one is a good fit for what I need.
In other words, which one looks the coolest.
For the most part, I've always used a Canon, but the camera that expired was a Nikon and My Friend Hoku uses Nikon so I've sort of been looking at what those two offer.
On the cheap side, is the Canon with the SX40, which is similar to the other camera I have:

It has more pixels and a newfangled zoom.
This type of camera is pretty much perfect as far as size and capabilities.
Or course if you want to look PRO, you gotta have the new stuff.
I'm also looking at something like the Nikon 1 series:

Which is a bit more expensive, but looks a whole lot more PRO.
If you know what I mean.
The Sony NEX looks kinda PRO too:

So anyways, there you go and here I am, on a Quest for Pics!(QFP!).
Off to the big box I go to see and touch!
If this goes like my other Quests, it ain't going to be easy.
Lemme tell you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Final Pt.II

Don't read this until you've read part I.
Trust me, it's worth it.
Sort of.
Anyways, this morning we uncovered the pit:

Those are the banana leaves.
The pit was still pretty hot considering we left it for about twelve hours.
More on that later.

The main course:

Cooked to perfection!
The pig is wrapped in some chicken wire so all the part don't just well, fall apart.
Which is what happens once you unwrap it:

The meat is literally falling off the bones.
Then all that is left is the bones:

The meat is then pulled apart and more salt is added as needed.
My family is so efficient, the whole pig was processed in about 90 minutes:

Then we mostly just sat around and ate whatever was left over.
Oh and all that other stuff that was in the imu.
We ate it I mean.
We don't usually do an imu often, obviously because of all the prep and the time involved.
I think next time we're going to do a hind quarter on a spit, but I need to search my Dad's house for the spit.
We did have a lot of food and boy lemme just predict right now that I gained about five pounds.
My fish didn't turn out so good as it dried out, probably because it was in there so long and because I didn't prep it correctly.
I'll do better next time.
Okay, so there you go, a contemporary spin on an old tradition.
The Hawaiian imu, or in the ground oven.

Sunday Final Pt.I

I am one tired dude.
I slept so late I almost didn't make the opening of the imu.
Which, if you have been following along at home, is what I was doing this weekend.
An imu, just in case you didn't know, is an in the ground oven of sorts.
Rock are heated up, then the stuff you want to cook is thrown in and buried until it's all nice and toasty.
That's sort of where we left off, the rocks getting all hot and toasty:

Once the fire burned down, we covered the rocks with banana tree parts:

The banana tree trunks are put there so that whatever you are cooking doesn't lay directly on the hot rocks.  The moisture also helps make some steam.
Okay, now you are ready to add the main course:

Things are moving rather quickly now and all the other stuff is added in:

We added all kinds of stuff: laulau, the fish I got, some pork butts, a brisket, a rib roast, and some other things.
Okay, I'm not going to explain what a laulau is, you'll just have to look it up.
Anyways, after everything is loaded up, we covered the pit with banana leaves:

You can already see the steam rising from the pit.
Next we covered it with burlap bags:

More steam.
Over the burlap, it was a tarp, then  a plastic sheet.
Dirt was applied to the edges of the plastic to seal everything in.
It was raining off and on so we put up one of them pop up tents over the pit just in case.
Well this morning, we took off the plastic stuff and the burlap bags.
Which by the way were still warm.
Part II coming up.

Sunday Early Edition

Lot o'pics!
First the fish:

Mullets stuffed with Chinese sausages.
Like so with the uhu:

Which is, if you have been following along at home, a parrot fish.
Now what to do with them.
First you dig a hole in the ground:

This particular hole happens to be in my cousins yard.
Then you put some combustibles in the hole and cover them with rocks:

Then you set the whole thing on fire.
Then you gotta get something to put in the hole over the combustibles and rocks:

Well at least get it ready.
Then you set the hole in the ground on fire:

Part II coming up later.