Saturday, October 29, 2016

blast from the past

Our school has an event at this time of Halloween where the students dress as famous people from history and tell the story.  I meet Frida Kahlo, 2 Sacajaweas, 2 Pocahontas (one after she was English-ed), and a fabulous (three snaps for the costume) Montezuma; among others.  Students try for group concepts so they have back up.  The Triangle shirt fire victims and owners was good.  My adult daughter was with me and loved the one who was Elizabeth Hamilton. The student was a singer so I could not argue with "she got all the information from the musical."

I ran into two former student who are now on college.  One said college chemistry was easy I had taught him everything.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

simple skills

What is your favorite thing to cook. I have realized that my favorite is the humble meatloaf. My husband likes it. I enjoy making it. . Meatloaf is like an apron or a sawhorse.

Why? because these very basic things can relay the skill of the creator. Aprons are simple, but a stylish apron can show the skill of the sewer above and beyond other people. People applying for a carpenter's job on site, years ago, were asked to make a sawhorse as their interview. So to does the humble meatloaf show the skill and art of the cook.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Song of Fire and Ice creator  George RR Martin takes place in the Game of Thrones universe.  The charcters are Dunk and Egg.  Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall, is a poor Hedge knight, a knight who must sleep in the hedges for he has no lord.  Dunk, who was a street urchin from the city of Kings Landing, was squired to an older hedge knight, Dunk knows no other life.  Egg is Aegon the grandson of the current king of Westeros. Egg is ten when through events of the first section, becomes Dunk's squire while meeting at an inn o the way to the tourney.
The book is three parts.  How Dunk and Egg met at a tourney.  Dunk and Egg's working for a minor lord in a squabble over a dam during a drought.  Then another tourney where they stumble into men of power and ambition.

Unlike the Song of Fire and Ice, this book seems light hearted.  Dunk and Egg simply are.  Dunk knows only what the "old man" who taught him about knights.  Dunk truly believes in honor.  Although he berates himself as "Dunk the Lunk," Dunk is smart, just not educated and he cannot read.  Dunk is also tall, just under seven feet.  Egg on the other hand, is educated as befits a Dragon Prince.  Egg must hide his identity as a prince, not because he must, but because he has choosen to follow the life.  When he interacts with those that know the truth, he is proud and not afraid.

The book has lavish black and white illustrations which are true to the characters' descriptions.

Hail TechnoCeaser

Our school has some extra funding for Science.  Now we can use it for supplies, but that seems passe, I can generally get anything I want.  Except for replacing the worn out lab stations, that we have trouble doing.

I would like to have an afternoon STEM program.  Projects the students can do.  Things that would take an afternoon.  My ultimate plan is to make it a class, but I would need another classroom for all the supplies.

I asked my students what they might want to make with such a thing.  "can we make robots that fight each other?" he said hopefully.  I'm not having you make things that power cut or throw flames.

"come on we'd learn something."

Book Review Star Wars Death Star

I realized that I was not reading new books but would instead putter around reading old books.  Many of not great quality.  So I came up with a plan.  I would pick a book from the stack starting at a given place, read the book then write a review.  Craft books or such I would work on projects when encountering them,  cookbooks a new recipe would be tried.

Star Wars Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry

Rating  **** out 5

Plot well driven with characters moving the actions.
Characters were mutliple and well developed.  We do get an inkling into the mind of the Star Wars bad guys of the film, Darth Vade, Wilhuff Tarkin, General Motti, and General Tagge.  There are scenes recreated from the movie, such as the meeting where Vader force chocks Tagge, "as you wish."  There is Leia capture and the destruction of Alderaan. But these are things happenning in the plot, not the main focus, these are situations for the new characters to tell their stories through.  A librarian, an escaped prisoner, a martial arts expert, a conscripted builder, a medical doctor and a bar owner end up on and working on the Death Star.  There stories are told how they ended up there and their horror at what they are actually doing.  Aptly handled is the force awakening of the martial arts expert.  The story pulls you along as the chapters change telling the story from the point of view of the current character.

Introduced is Admiral Daala, who appears later in the Expanded Universe series.

If you have not read any of the Star Wars novels this is a good one to be your first.