Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ice, Semis And Wind... Oh, My!

Evan and I got back to Lander in time to go to bed (nursing colds) well before folks here ring in 2012.

We have been in Colorado celebrating a friend's wedding, which was beautiful despite the cold temperatures, snow flurries and high winds that characterized our travels. Coming home, I was white-knuckled behind the wheel as we ran a gauntlet of overturned semi-trucks (eight in all) along the I-80 corridor near Elk Mountain. Although it's wicked cold now, it turns out we missed some exquisitely warm days while we were away-- the snow median that was at least three feet tall on Amoretti Street before we left has melted away to a strip of ice.

Our town will celebrate the turning of the year buried under ice flows.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Teacher's Role

Are fourth graders capable of solving the problems of the world?

John Hunter believes that they are. He also believes that it's an imperative they start practicing now.

He reminds me of the many inspirational teachers I have been blessed to have as mentors in my life. I owe those individuals a huge debt of gratitude for their faith in my capacity. I forever stand on their shoulders.

John Trapasso, my seventh grade history teacher:

He came back from India alight with a passion for Hindi culture and blew my mind with the concept of reincarnation. He was notorious for the hand cramps you'd get
writing essays hovering around twenty pages during in-class exams.

Victor Fink, my grade school music teacher:

I don't remember learning anything about music in his class, but vividly recall how he captivated and terrified us in equal measure with his rendition of The Monkey's Paw and delighted us with open-book tests that included questions like, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" and "What color was Napoleon's white horse?"
Mr. Fink taught us that sometimes the best thing to do is to flaunt convention.

Joana Bryar-Matons, my high school Spanish teacher:

The record spun and out flowed beautiful music and poetry which we would translate on the fly. If we proved distracted or slow on the uptake, she'd look to the ceiling and swear, "I shit on God!" in Catalan.

Leroy Votto, my high school history teacher:

His ability to bring history to life by immersing us in primary sources was nothing short of breathtaking. His patience and trust in our innate goodness and humanity came in a close second. His genuine curiosity takes third.

Richard Lautze, my high school teacher of many hats:

I have yet to meet anyone as committed to experiential education-- a concept that has informed every aspect of my life since my initial introduction.
I am still amazed and humbled that he saw in me not only a student, but a peer.

Lon Abbott, my college geology teacher:

His short shorts and ability to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim at the speed of light left me in awe. His skill presenting geology as a story of revolution, rich in metaphor, left me with a deeper spiritual appreciation of nature.

David Lovejoy, my college outdoor education teacher:

True to his name, his warmth made the wilderness accessible for me. He was the competent, feminine-style role model I needed in order to believe in my own ability to be a leader in the outdoors.

Mark Twain said, "Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great." These are a few of the teachers who have made me feel capable of greatness.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jazz Age Silence

The ambitious project: a silent film made in 2011 about Hollywood in 1927.

I am über curious to see how it turned out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Holiday Card For The Ages

Mandy and Brian? Basically creative GENIUSES!

This holiday confection is simply too good not to share. It's the Winter Solstice AND the 3rd Night of Hanukkah after all.

Happy festive times, folks!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Trash Transformed

In exploring the world's largest landfill outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz, was inspired by the catadores who sort through tons of refuse each day for recyclable materials to sell.

He took portraits of the men and women he befriended in iconic poses and projected these images onto the floor of a gigantic studio space in the city. The catadores themselves then recreated their own portraits by reclaiming garbage for the purpose.

Proceeds from the resulting art generated $250,000 USD for the Association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho-- a community organization and union of sorts for catadores in Rio.

This story was captured on film by Lucy Walker and turned into a movie called "Wasteland", which has made its way onto Netflix.

There is beauty to be found in transformation and reclamation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Uh, Huh...

It's the first night, people.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Domestic Partners

So today at work, Evan got down on one knee and asked me to be his domestic partner so we could save around $780 next year on health insurance. It was all very romantic.

Then it hit me (as I was in the middle of doing bent-knee wipers at the gym) that we had been blasé about a process that is as far as some couples ever get to legally go together.

A sobering thought that makes me appreciate all the more the joy inherent in the gay marriages that have been fully recognized in the eyes of the law.

These two newlywed shots are from a wonderful series that appeared in New York Magazine.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Props to any artist who comes up with a solid concept and renders it beautifully.

Hence, I am a fan of Kyle Bean with his harmless weapons and philosophical chickens.

Discovered via the art + design blog, Colossal.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Struggle Bus

These superb portraits of homeless men and women by Lee Jeffries put my rides on the Struggle Bus, as Rathke puts it, into perspective.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oh, Right. That Thing Called...

A year ago, we celebrated the Winter of Magic.

This year, we're ringing in the Winter of Stoke.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nature Deficit Disorder

Lately, I've been almost exclusively an indoor creature.

I knew things were bad when the beauty of the Popo Agie outside the floor to ceiling windows of the dentist's office proved utterly captivating as my teeth were scraped clean and then stayed with me as the most moving part of my day.

I miss the nature.

Clearly, I just need to get out more. The freezing temperatures and dearth of daylight hours, however, have got me stumped.

That said, Evan makes getting outside to play despite the desk job look easy... so there's hope! I have a lot to learn from that man.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How To Live A Life

It's all about respecting your elders...

Knowing this to be true, David Brooks

went and asked a bunch of old folk to share

thoughts on the course of their lives.

The resulting article is an interesting read.