Thursday, September 21, 2006

classroom pictures

Thought I'd upload some photos of my classroom - Also a chance to play with my new camera :)

School and the kids are taking over life unfortunately (and also fortunately!)

My desk

Our Writer's Wall

The front of our room

Calandar/Helpers/Bulletin Board

Just outside my room

Our entrance

Looking at our math wall

Monday, August 28, 2006


Wow -

Longest layover since I've last posted and I choose the worst of days to decide to post something. Worst in terms of how much time I actually have!

It's been a whirlwind and odd day - I started my career as a teacher off today, and, though there were many many hitches that I'll need to shore up, I'm alive, I'm here, and I'm ready to put up a fight for day #2 with my pair of third grade classes! On the other hand, I received news that Nickel Creek, today, have made it official that they are going on "an indefinite hiatus", or in other words, in my opinion, a breakup ala Toad the Wet Sprocket (of whom I saw 2 weeks ago!!). Normally I'd be devestated but with my own life taking precedence it seems only somehow oddly... appropriate that this happened. I'm sure it'll hit me soon enough. They're planning on touring 'till end of '07 and will break apart to explore life and other opportunities. I can't blame them but, as I felt with Toad 9 years ago, I always took for granted that they'd be around forever.

Sorry I have been astray - Life's been happening - Lots of great opportunities I've taken, a week at a visual/performing (music) arts camp is how I spent one week with some of the greatest people in the world. I spent a week in Pajaro with my staff last week next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean (though not beautiful that week). And now here I am getting ready for Day 2 of being a 3rd grade teacher. The responsibility is so great and I can't believe I'm actually doing this sometimes!

Hopefully I'll find the time to write some more. Till then, enjoy, and be merry :) and catch Nickel Creek wherever you are in the country because who knows when they'll ever come back again!

I think I'll do a photo montage of the last few months next post.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Currently Listening
It's Never Been Like That
By Phoenix
see related
Shots from my Yosemite trip can be found below -- It was beyond words, I wish I could've stayed longer and definitely will the next time - Really awe-inspiring, but I'll let the pictures visually paint the picture for you.

Check out the new album by Phoenix, it's great.

And PLEASE check out this clip (along with the others on the site!!) of Thom Yorke doing a track off his fabulous new solo album live and solo acoustic! I can't wait to see the rest of the show when it is available.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a lazy post

I caught a few shows at the Mountain Winery this past week and through the powers that are youtube, many of the funny and memorable moments that I would normally have to express with written words can now be viewed instead. They're, unfortunately, amateur videos captured on what I'd imagine as small cameras or phones with movie capturing features, so sound and picture are not of the best. I'm sure that'll remedy itself soon, but check out some fun moments witnessed through the eyes of yours truly in the past few...

Nickel Creek's version of "toxic" with more than your typical... performance by mr. christopher thile.


The band breaking into my favorite cover of the night, Randy Newman's "short people" with acting included - It's so cute and hilarious!


I have a feeling that it's you, Steph, who made those videos - If it is... Then thank you for putting them up!

Also caught Damien Rice at the same venue - He was hilarious, funny, emotional - Just as expected. Fortunately, his songs lend perfectly towards the venue and he and his band took full advantage of the winery and had three wine shots which led to some mischeaviously fun behavior :) Unfortunately, the venue is one that has a strict curfew of 10:30pm (you're kidding me...) and at about 10:32, they cut off the power while his band was still jamming!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Hello! Setting yet another record, I have yet to update in the past month. Lots of things have been going on to which I'll kindly and quickly mull over in random bullet point style for anyone who actually still takes a look at this site for something other than finding David Gray/Blue Merle mp3s (yes, my site is oddly getting a lot of traffic still due to the world's need for music from these... artists... of which one is , sadly, no longer with us [blue merle disbanded recently - fucking lead songwriter thought he could do better without the constraints of the band, but what does he know - story for another time])

Also thought that I should also say that I am proudly writing this entry on a macbook! Yes, after all these years I've finally given it a shot - Went to the dark side (or light side, however you look at it) and picked up a sleek mac - well, actually both "sides" are dark, so no matter - I never knew or believed how intuitive the mac OS is, and though I installed Windows via Bootcamp, I find myself drawn into and heavily utilizing the Mac.

Anyway - What's been up...

-I'm an employed third grade teacher! I work here.
-The last weeks student teaching were memorable - For once I was the talk of the town, how? By kicking some sixth grade behind in the annual sixth grade versus staff softball game! It was a great feeling to see my kids look up to me as if I were Jordan for a day. We also went on a field trip to the historical museum - The kids wrote a book for me each detailing something they fondly remembered about me which was just amazing. I'm so glad that I stayed until the end of the year!
-I turned a year older.
-I led sixty sixth graders, of whom were as tall or taller than me, on a campus tour of San Jose State University - It was awesome and amazing to see the looks on kids' faces who are underprivileged and are so amused at the littlest of things such as fountains! I think the exposure really opened their eyes to what could be their future and hopefully it is something I can work out with the school each year to bring the college bound culture to these kids.
-Plenty of concerts were enjoyed. Glen Phillips rolled into town with Jonathan Kingham playing backing - BFD showed me that Franz Ferdinand can put out the kind of energy onstage that they do in the studio. The Strokes, on the other hand, ... not really. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a band to definitely watch as a headliner and the Sounds, albeit not very deep and dense sonically, are joyful to watch. Neko Case & Damien Rice were a pair of concerts that showcased oddities in a concert that I hadn't seen before - The former performing at a converted movie theater (the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz) and actually verbally describing to us, the crowd, that , yes, indeed, they were to play an encore, and that , yes, they will be performing more songs and that, yes, they needed to tune in front of us first! Odd... The latter, Rice, performed at the Mountain Winery, a notable luxurious venue in the Saratoga Mountains where due to restrictions and curfews set by rich old people, concerts end at 10:30pm. So... Rice being drunk and all (he shot back 3 straight glasses of wine in a row during 'cheers darlin') he kept jamming during their last track only to have the power cut off the instruments at 10:32pm! That was it!
-Thoroughly enjoying Nick Hornby novels - 'A Long Way Down' is a hilarious take on suicide (not exactly an easy thing to do) that stresses on the theme of support. I'm currently reading High Fidelity, you know, the famous film that John Cusack was in with Jack Black. Except that it's americanized.

That is the gist and short version of a month. Lots more involved that I don't have the patience for memory to recall for.

Well, hope this isn't my last post for awhile - I do think about topics to write about often that typically are beautifully expressed in my head but when it comes to writing it down on paper (or in this case typing it), I lose all ability to self express. I should just mike myself up when I'm running.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day one of being a bum and so far I'm not taking being a bum seriously! I need to seriously take a trip. Instead, I decided to take an interview that was probably as crazy as first interviews in a profession will go!

The Lowdown? It started off really pleasant, a member of the student council took me around the school (which was, in short, amazing!) and I got to ask her a lot of questions. It's a dual-immersion school that really believes in collaboration and community. Really. I'll explain in a second. BUT - The first neat thing was that the classrooms are not self-contained, there is an open wall between two classrooms! Neat in that you can pop into your partner's class and ask her a question without really "stepping out of the room". But, a little scary in that you have a sense of what's going on in the other class at all times... And there are times where you really just need to have a talk with your class

Anyway, fun part was over, serious business came next - First, a "conversation" that ended up being a thirty minute casual interview with three teachers, answering questions and scenarios. Done and done. Off to the next group. A "formal" interview with four more teachers who ask more questions. Not too bad. THEN... A "fishbowl" style collaboration where I and three other interview candidates had to work together on a scenario concerning multicultural curriculum and role play as if we were going to work and perform a presentation to a school district... all of this planning took place in forty five minutes in front of the entire faculty! the goal? to see how well we collaborate with others. intense! three others I'd never met before and had no idea how to monitor! the principal asking us to speak louder so the faculty could hear us collaborating just added to the pressure! It was an odd experience of trying to make sense of the individual trying to show off everything he knew that yet did not relate to what we needed to get done, trying to wrestle with who's idea to use, and trying to not go in circles with the same ideas over and over and over and over again. Writing this, I feel sorry for the faculty to have to hear our mumble jumble! And it was hard not to entirely step in and say, HEY, you're wrong, we're totally off task! ... when I knew the qualities of being a team player had to be displayed by me!

Regardless of the end result, it was a neat (although i won't admit it yet!) learning experience that'll give me more confidence in future interviews - after all, they can't get as intense as that, right?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Six years of college and it's finally done. What'd I get? Bachelor's, Credentials, and half a masters.

Now I can be a bum.

Hopefully not for too long

Friday, May 19, 2006

Currently Listening
Silent Alarm
By Bloc Party
see related
YES! I passed the RICA

Five thousand tests down, 0 left to go It is preposterous how many exams one must go through in order to teach in California. Fortunately, I've finally gone through all of them (without repeat!) and can focus my attention on getting a job instead of worrying about not getting my credential. Speaking of which - I have an interview set up for a Kinder position. It's definitely not my ideal grade level, but, I think I will do it for experience, the interview that is - Some day I feel I can teach Kinder, but at this point I feel like I will just be cheating the educational experiences of the future. It is amazing the amount of socialization that occurs just based on week one of Kinder, am I ready to make such an impact?

Speaking of which, throw me a few grades higher - I subbed in fourth today and, aside from not being able to count all thirty two students (it is insane!), I had a pretty good time.

Summer's coming (as goes the Sean Watkins tune) and I'll write much more in a short time.

Next post should include pictures of last week's Kaboom! show with KT Tunstall.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

So long since I've posted.  Sooo busy.  Sending out applications to every district in my county, waiting for one of the hundreds of schools to call me back.  Finishing up a crazy six months with third graders I love but drive me insane.  Coping with lack of sleep.  All that crazy stuff. 

In the meantime -

Glen's new album, Mr. Lemons, is out.  Get it. Enjoy it.  It's a mixed bag is how I feel, as hard as I have to admit.  A number of amazing songs that rival his best work, such as Waiting, Thank You, and Blindsight, but some underperforming studio versions of Last Sunset and I Still Love You make it hard to entirely love. 

The latest Calexico is great, so is the latest from the Streets.  Give Snow Patrol's latest a listen, it's not as great as the last but a good listen. 

Caught Hem at the Great American Music Hall last night, Sally's vocals are amazing, but it was a little underwhelming with only half (four/eight) of the full band together.  We sat assembly style!  Imagine a dance floor but with everyone sitting on their bottoms with legs crossed.  Can't say I've ever done that before. 

More when it is all over. 


glen stuff for ya

Waiting (one of my favs on the new album)

Marigolds Live/acoustic video

Thursday, April 20, 2006

just an update on josh ritter

you can listen to his entire album here , track by track

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

josh ritter

My new favorite album of 2006 thus far!

..... The Animal Years by Josh Ritter!

A complete surprise, I hate typecasting but to pigeonhole him in any kind of genre, I'd suggest that he sounds very Americana, with a delicate sense of songwriting. Some of his sound is reminiscent of Ryan Adams but then a little Springsteen. But all in all, very, very well done. Check out his Paste Magazine double podcast interview/live performance here to decide for yourself:

news you could use

Love Monkey, the Tom Cavanagh comedy-drama that was canceled after only three episodes, will get a second life on music channel VH1. The network, which already ran the three previously aired episodes, announced it will air the remaining five unaired episodes beginning Tuesday, April 18.

Monkey told the story of a record-industry A&R man, played by Cavanagh, who longed for love in the Big Apple. The show was generally well reviewed, but CBS canceled it due to poor ratings.

One of the main features of the show was music, and the theme song "Someone Who's Cool" was performed by the defunct band Odds. The show featured many musicians in cameos, including Ben Folds, LeeAnn Rimes, and James Blunt. Eric Bogosian also played a supporting role.

Unaired upcoming episodes include appearances by Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer and rockers Aimee Mann and John Mellencamp.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Concert List

Lots of shows in the Bay Area released today - The annual KFOG Kaboom! occurs on May 13, and features a free show with Jackie Greene, KT Tunstall, and Los Lonely Boys, but of course headlined by a huge fireworks show.

The Mountain Winery list is up!! Highlighted shows include (but are not limited to):
T-Bone Burnett & Jakob Dylan - 6/9
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones - 6/25
Damien Rice - 6/26
Fiona Apple w/ David Garza - 6/27, 6/30
Nickel Creek - 7/1
Indigo Girls - 7/5
Chris Issak - 7/17 - 7/19
Shawn Colvin - 8/4
Toad the Wet Sprocket - 8/16-8/17

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Goodbye Espresso Garden Cafe!

Well - Tonight's the last night of existance for what will now be the former best venue for roots and acoustic music in the South Bay. Thanks for all the memories! The cafe was in existance for almost a decade, though I only began visiting since catching Nickel Creek back in 2001. It will, unfortunately, become a sushi bar in the weeks and months to come, as if we didn't need another restaurant. Apparantly, as Brad Kava wrote, turntables are more important than traditional instruments. I didn't get to say goodbye officially, but the wait staff were amazing people, the "strangers" I met, and the musicians that played were always so friendly and personable. My last visit came a few months ago when I caught the Dukhs, sitting in the back before the show not realizing that I was having a conversation with the lead singer/writer of the band! Lots of similar and fun experiences between that and that first Nickel Creek show five years ago. So long! You'll be missed...
Video of the day: Part of the video for "One Evening" by Feist - Awesome artist that's part of the whole Broken Social Scene posse. I love what they do with what little they had to produce this video.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Ahhh - My solo week is over! Last week I taught the entire week, created and implemented lesson plans, etc. and went through the whole gamut of things. Code Red drills. Supervising two hundred fifty students in a cafeteria. Seeing teachers picket. Seeing teachers at a school next to us go on a sick out. And last but not least making my first student cry on Friday - Oh how awesome it was! It's the ultimate test in giving in but I held my ground and made him stay for after school detention. Of course, five minutes is an eternity for a child...

The week ended with Noisepop! Caught the band We Are Scientists (think franz ferdinand meets the strokes) and in short, they were great! The album lends itself to a sonically loud show and they were true to the album's "noise". Didn't deviate too much but they show great stage prescence and are just an active band. The only problem was they closed a night where there were three openers and I didn't catch them until about midnight, with their set ending just past 1am - So... long trip back from SF back to San Jose : -( Ooh, before I forget - Also check out a band called the Grates from Australia - They're a bunch of fun with a lead singer who loves to dance

So - TOAD! I haven't seen the entire Saratoga Mountain Winery concert list yet, but first Nickel Creek will be there, then, yes, Toad the Wet Sprocket, my former love affair of a band will reunite for a few fun shows this summer across the country, hitting the Winery on August 16! Other dates can be found here.

Popmatters wrote a beautiful Paste-esque article on Sean Watkins (guitarist from Nickel Creek)'s latest solo effort - It's been out on digital download for a few months but JUST came out on traditional CD a few weeks ago - Check it out-Totally embodies exactly how I feel his prescence in Nickel Creek is shown.

Uh-oh. I just discovered how to use YouTube - I love it! I'm going to go insane on this blog putting up video links! First one here is Nickel Creek (obviously!) and it's just an insane jam they go on during the song, Lighthouse's Tale (this current tour's jam version-it changes every tour) Ahh...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

been awhile

Doh, I haven't posted in such a long time! What I've learned in that time period:

-Comcast is not always Comcastic! Downed Internet for the past two weeks, 3 modems, and two technicians later, I'm still having Internet problems. Hopefully something will be resolved soon.

-The Shield is such a kickass show - I can't believe what they did in the finale. And speaking of which, the Sopranos, welcome back :-)

-The Asian American Film Festival was a great place to meet people! Nothing better than talking to strangers at the rush line. And catch great independent films, look out for American Fusion, a funny yet over-the-top comedy that truly depicts some of the Chinese cultural differences and how they clash with American values.

-I got an early birthday gift and more: Glen Phillips on June 6 and Nickel Creek at the simply beautiful Mountain Winery in Saratoga on July 1! Wine, spectacular views, and the best jam band out there, I can't wait!

-Noise Pop began and continues throughout the week in San Francisco. The Mayor has officially called it Noise Pop week! I'll be catching We Are Scientists on Friday.

-Bribing kids works for the short term. But... don't rely on it ;-) It's my solo week and I'm getting payback for the great day I had when my supervisor visited yesterday ;-)

-Apologizing to students is a great modeling technique for them to have the courage to make mistakes and try harder.

-YouTube can be addicting. Well, when Comcast is Comcastic...

-Yelp is a great website to find great places in your city!

-I still can't get into the Arctic Monkeys. I'm trying!

-But do listen to the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Neko Case albums. The jury's still out on Rhett Miller's latest -

-I'll be presenting a two-sided double bubble map presentation on the South Park scandal in Social Studies. The underlying societal issue of course being freedom of speech. I'll rip apart and analyze an article from each viewpoint. Before then, does anyone want to enlighten me or provide their take on this issue? It'll be a fun take on the unreliability and need for caution in terms of narratives.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Job Fair 2006

Intense. I was at the annual job fair today for just over three hours but it was one of the most intense experiences ever - Four interviews in that time span with school districts that I had previously picked out and filled out applications for. It was a learning experience that through the course of each interview, got better and better - By my last interview, I felt that I really owned and took charge of the conversation and drove it. What kind of questions did they ask? A lot - Many I had no preparation for, but thank god for what I've done in student teaching so far that I could use as examples. It is amazing the kind of responses you can come up with on the spot without preparation at times! A few questions (more of a list for me to remember for future interviews)

-How do you assess your students?
-How would you interact with your parents?
-Explain how you would support guided and shared reading?
-Tell me how you would implement technology in a classroom, aside from computers.
-Where do you see yourself as a teacher down the road?
-How do you plan, organize, and implement a lesson?
-How do you organize a teaching day?
-What is your experience with multicultural and language learning students? How would you differentiate instruction?
-What do you do to work with your colleagues?

There were a bunch more but this is it for now that I can remember. Anyway, at least three of the interviews went really well - It was refreshing to be honest and explain why I am passionate towards working with students - Let's just hope that's at least some of what they wanted to hear. If not, I'm up for hire :-)

Saturday, March 11, 2006


What a weird friday. The following occurred:

-Driving along 101, I saw a body on the exit turn of a road. Turns out it was someone who was the victim of a hit and run. by... multiple drivers who didn't bother to check what they were running over. Don't believe me? Check it out. Eerie how detached from the world people can be.

-Snow reached San Jose! Well, sort of. Experienced folks will tell you it was hail. Or something in between. But... It was snow to me! Where was I? Running safety patrol out front of my school, attempting to keep distracted parents from running over people! Seriously though, it was such a neat sight seeing a pile of white fall from the sky - Albeit resulting in several cars just stopping right in the middle of the road...

-Heading onto the freeway tonight, cops were surrounding a car flipped totally upside down. How it got there? I don't know.

-Oh and I learned the hard way of the amount of micromanagement required to ensure the energy level of children having a popcorn party in a classroom requires. Every day is a learning experience these days.

That's it! Go check out Imogen Heap, I'm immensely enjoying her latest. Neko Case's latest album just was released as well, and has been an enjoyable listen thus far. Sean Watkins' latest solo is finally getting a "proper" release and will be in stores this Tuesday.

And the Sopranos are back this Sunday. It's been a long two years.

Currently Listening
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
By Neko Case
see related

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Currently Listening
Speak for Yourself
By Imogen Heap
see related
busy, busy, but some randomness:

-Hem and Over the Rhine co-headline together at the Great American Music Hall on May 11 in San Francisco-Hem is definitely one of my favorite secrets, a great Americana band if there ever was one. I've heard lots about Over the Rhine, can someone tell me more?

-William H Macy will be at Cinequest for a Q&A and a showing of his new film, Edmond, on March 11 at the California Theater. Hope to see you there!

-Another of the firsts - Parent/teacher conference. How will it go? Who knows, I hope they don't wonder why I'm just sitting there listening and taking notes

-Chappelle's Block Party-Watch it. Love it. The music's off the hook. (is that phrase cool still?)

-Imogen Heap-Check out her latest. The girl from Frou Frou if you are wondering. It's trippy and full of wonderful synthesized sounds. While I'm at it, Neko Case has a new album out Tuesday. Check that too. She's the gorgeous voice from the New Pornographers.

I saw the list of best picture nominees. Wow - So many relating to current social issues that exploit the truth. I'm loving it! I'm going to have to re-watch Crash - My only knack on it from my first viewing so long ago was that it really misrepresented the Asian ethnicity/represented character (although that in itself is a misrepresentation since "Asian" is such a general term for many ethnicities). Then a friend told me that possibly the director was trying to subconsciously make the point that the film was portraying it right in that in real life, the Asian population is largely ignored as well. Who knows, I'll have to watch it again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006



So.... Cinequest. I attended the opening gala tonight at the California Theater, a beautiful throwback classy theater, which featured the film, Thank You For Smoking. First off, a fantastic movie! If you appreciate satirical and witty (sometimes too much for its own good!) comedy with a larger message, then you'll have to catch this when it finally hits theaters (hopefully soon!). Shortly put, it's the story of a tobacco industry lobbyist who's so good at his job that one just questions the morals and ethics (or lack thereof) of this character. Great ensemble that includes Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, William H Macy, Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, Rob Lowe... list goes on. Check it out!

Now as the for festival, I'm nothing short of pumped! Thoroughly enjoyed the introductions to the festival and the philosophies behind it - How the goal of the festival is to allow those independent filmmakers to have their movies shown in an otherwise saturated industry that distributes less than 1% of films actually made (and not the best). Their catchphrase of "mavericks" within not just the filmmakers but also us, the viewers of the films, us making the conscious decision to stray from the norm was just a neat wakeup call i felt inspired by, not for its message on filmmaking, but as being a maverick in general in everyday life.

If you're in the Bay Area, I implore you to catch a film and support independent films and catch a flick at this festival! I was surprised to hear that it's considered in the top 10 festivals in the world!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blog & Education

The educational potential of Web logs in the classroom can be used to access information, opinions and the point of view of millions of other people, a University of Illinois philosophy of education professor told a full house in the engineering auditorium Thursday morning.

"I am not a tech person and did not even know what a blog was before I came here," said Thao Nguyen, a student working on her teaching credential. "I think blogging in the classroom would be a good idea."
Web blogs its potential in education SJSU Spartan Daily

I had to skip a day of student teaching in order to catch a presentation on the educational purposes of blogging - A few interesting ideas involved, including the idea of teachers posting blogs as a form of accountability - Communication between the parents where teachers would be able to describe what they are doing in the classroom and to get input from parents within a community. It all sounds theoretically doable, albeit not practical today, but maybe tomorrow? He spent a ton of time explaining and rationalizing the constructiveness of blogs in general, unfortunately. A question I had hoped to ask during Q&A that did not get answered was his opinion on the anonymity of comments (a point he illustrated was important for the potential of blogs in that it provides a communication between author/audience that is not possible anywhere else, especially in the publishing world) and whether or not there needs to be some form of identity, otherwise it could cause slander or name-calling behavior within the feedback.

Anyway, it got me to want to fix up my blog a little. Which is the cause of the change (for the blogger site, that is)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Currently Listening
No Word From Tom
By Hem
see related
SO drained.

Another first - I subbed for the first time today! Granted, it was for my cooperating teacher and the same kids I see everyday, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I've been getting a lot of great advice - Such as knowing that the kids will test me to my limits, whether they do it knowingly or consciously or not. If I just as much show any sign that I notice they're doing something out of place that they shouldn't be and don't act upon it or give them any disapproving sign, then I'm SOL. It's so easy to say, so hard to practice. It went well today, though - I had full reign of the class and only needed to bench one kid for recess - All was well until just after lunch, they bring me two new students that will be part of the class - In late February, and the two are cousins and both don't speak English! Wow - reality check, it's an impossible situation but something I couldn't have not expected. We'll see how it turns out - They've got two people in the class who can translate, but all of a sudden all my lesson plans will have to be differentiated now.
Check out Glen Phillips' new website - New album out in May and he's now a blogspot user!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Some of these memories found their way into ``The Kite Runner,'' Hosseini's 2003 novel about childhood friends Amir and Hassan, bound by a love of kite fighting, torn by the antipathy of the Pashtun (Sunni Muslims) ruling class for the Hazaras (Shiite) underclass. Forbidden under Taliban rule, kites returned to the skies over Kabul in 2001, when the fundamentalist regime fell to the Northern Alliance. Hence, their importance in Afghan culture: They've come to symbolize deliverance from cruel oppression, spiritual rebirth. San Jose Mercury News 2.19.06

My favorite book in this short 2006, The Kite Runner, is, as I've just learned and am proud to say, written by a local who went to my high school! The main character in his story also went to San Jose State, as well! It is an amazing book about the realities of lives we may not, as a society, widely know, and simply a story about being human. Check it out.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Too often the mainstream mistakes "rap music" (what photographer Ernie Paniccioli calls hip-hop's "bastard child") for the broader social movement that is hip-hop -- a social movement that is inclusive of what Michael Eric Dyson often refers to as a street-level theodicy.

A piece of the article on Kanye West from Popmatters - Check it out -
R.I.P Love Monkey -- Another good show just got cancelled - And did you know Fox just pressed the final four Arrested Development episodes in one night last Friday?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Currently Listening
Stars of Cctv
By Hard-Fi
see related
More firsts:

-First inservice day I ever attended; Yes, it was fun when we were kids and got the day off-Not much so as a teacher! They threw all the teachers in the district into a huge room/space to watch how we could better teach, but who was listening?

-First Valentine's day with cards since I was a little kid. It's crazy! Kids go wild. Parents bring in sugar in the form of donuts, cakes, etc. Definitely a teacher's worst nightmare. But getting a ton of cards was fun (and giving out) We watched a Charlie Brown Valentine, and, sadly, it's amazing how themes from it sure can hit home even as an adult.

What'll happen tomorrow?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I finally made it into the local newspaper (ok, it's the college paper...)

I'm now a registered substitute! Who knew what pains it would take to get the paperwork taken care of - It's like they DONT want substitutes to take over classes when the teacher is sick and would rather have the kids by themselves........

Someone get me off this punkish-new-wave-rock a la the Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, Bravery, etc. etc. Last week it was We Are Scientists - This week, I was introduced and can't stop playing the band, Hard-Fi. Check them out.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, to sound cliche, the next chapter's opened up and it's been a crazy week but its left me feeling more like a part of something bigger.

I started my full time student teaching (as in forty hour weeks until the end of May) position at Los Arboles Elementary with a great group of third graders - It is an obviously different world stepping into that grade level coming from first grade like I did just a month or so ago. It's so hard to tell myself that they don't need constant two minute reminders to sit still or to not ask questions or to be quiet or to do their work or to, well, you get the picture. They finish their work and, to my astonishment, actually open up their desks and look for other work they have not finished. AND ACTUALLY DO IT.

It has so far been a week mostly consisting of observing, but I've got a lot down so far. Know kids names by heart, know their little cliques and who hangs with who, have gone to lunch and observed (not yet played) them during recess. They're just great kids. The next step is to create a mailbox (a friend's idea) and have them send me letters, with me replying. Great way to get to know them and for them to practice writing.

I have yet to teach any lessons but it shouldn't be a problem, at least on their part. More like if it doesn't go well, it's because I did a horrible job I shouldn't comment too much on staff/faculty/my cooperating teacher, but I'll just say it's an interesting bunch. I've listened in on some interesting conversations during lunch and break - Yes, they actually DO talk about students during their own time.

BUT -- I'm enjoying it so far - The best parts come during neat "teachable moments". I love the ridiculously sometimes just completely odd phrases or remarks that a kid will make. Especially the ones where I'm the only one laughing. I don't know, it's just so funny. And another great thing? I may actually be able to substitute for my teacher a few times already - It's ridiculously ridiculous how one is expected to drop all sources of income to work full time as a student teacher for free for five months - I'm just glad I have an understanding teacher who'll let me get solo practice and some extra money.

And this is week one. Let's hope week two is just as good. I start read-alouds tomorrow :)

Still kicking it with music, here's another new list of goodies I recommend:

Duncan Sheik - White Limosine
HEM - No Word From Tom (out 2/7!! My favorite band no one knows but me) (listen to their new album HERE!)
We Are Scientists - With Love & Squalor (Playing NoisePop 2006)

A friend told me about NoisePop, a great (14th year) indie festival that I cannot for the life of me believe that I didn't know about!!! It is held this end of March/early April at all the best (literally!) venues in San Francisco such as Bimbo's 365, Bottom of the Hill, Great American Music Hall, Cafe Du Nord, Slim's, Independent, etc. Two great bands out of a long list I want to see so far include Feist and We Are Scientists (see above). Bay Area reader? Check it out!

Speaking of festivals, three biggies are announced and all look amazing - Bonnaroo includes Radiohead and Nickel Creek amongst many many others - Coachella is headlined by Depeche Mode and Sigur Ros - SXSW has just about EVERYBODY. Bonnaroo sounds possible if the stars are aligned

Saturday, January 28, 2006

'Til Kingdom Come (think of that hidden Coldplay track on X&Y; the song written for Johnny Cash)

My last day of work in photos - It was an amazing bittersweet one in that, if I didn't already, I realized how comfortable I got and how much I enjoyed the company (the people) I was surrounded by. For the first time ever, I think I'm truly nervous and frightened about starting full time student teaching on Monday, now without any sort of safety net. (although on a side note, I may have a job as a part time reader for an undergraduate course at SJSU) Have to take that leap of faith sometime, though, right?

The afternoon started with cake :) I was running across the administration building trying to get rid of it asking everyone I knew if they'd like some ;-)

Cake with Office peeps (sorry, my replacement has been engraining some lingo into me during my week of training her!)

My boss, her husband, and the new IT guy

Lunch @ Sonoma Chicken Coup

Hanging out at Paragon to end the day

It begins Monday and I'm still in denial! Like that lame Bush song, breath in and breath out. Remember Bush? Whatever happened to them ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Currently Watching
Wal-mart - The High Cost of Low Price
see related
OOOH, mushaboom....

I love this song. I love this album. Check it out. Mushaboom by Feist (Leslie Feist), another Canadian - It's becoming a recurring theme lately with those Canadians (Matt Good, New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire. Hmm how to explain. Someone called her jazzy/trip-hop sensual pop music. Sounds good. Give it a listen (link above).

The film above - disturbing, it creates a balanced attack on Wal-Mart's business practices on multiple surfaces, including many I never thought of (aside from the typical they are known for i.e. labor practices, strategic store placements).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Currently Listening
Duncan Sheik
By Duncan Sheik
see related
Life is suffering
Tee-hee, ha-ha
Cold and shuddering
Tee-hee, ha-ha
Cruel and pummeling
Tee-hee, ha-ha

Ok long title, but it's been a long time since I've quoted Toad the Wet Sprocket -

Quick notes -

-Nickel Creek performs "Jealous of the Moon" on the Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno this Wednesday the 25th!
-Blue Merle is the subject of the latest episode of Acoustic Cafe; A great performance/interview with the band plus new full-time fiddler, Luke Bulla
-Bands/Albums fitting my musical approval: Feist (Let it Die), Duncan Sheik (White Limosine), Richard Ashcroft (Keys to the World), and my new favorite of 2006, KT Tunstall.

Busy, busy last week of vacation! Training my successor at the Senate and saying my long goodbyes to all there - It's been fun! This has to be the first time ever that I'll be leaving a job that I don't immediately want to just leave. It's still bittersweet, however. But - Necessary to take the next step forward, which will be full-time student teaching third graders for the next few months - I'm freaking out! I'm also finishing up CERT (community emergency response team) training, certifying me as a rescue team member if a disaster were to occcur in-abouts San Jose State - Pray that it won't ever happen due to my lack of competence

Get together! This friday for my forced liberation of my job, at O'Flaherty's Pub (in San Pedro Square) around 5:30-6 for anyone wanting to join in. Feel free to drop by.

Sing-a-long - Duncan Sheik's "She Runs Away" - Rediscovering this gem from the mid-90s, this song's got it all.

OK! End of convoluted message. Seeya next time.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

the world isn't fair

the title refers to a randy newman track out of just so many that i'm finding just as appropriate today as they were when he wrote them however many ages ago. i just love the satire in the work he's produced - anyway, his album was just one of many i purchased at a local retail that's going out of business in a matter of days (note for those who live in the south bay area!), media play, where everything is 70% off or more. the others i purchased and would like feedback on if anyone has listened to them include:

dar williams - my better self
wilco - kicking television--live in chicago
the jayhawks - rainy day music (the chris thile connection)
ryan adams & the cardinals - jacksonville nights (had a burned so i know how good this one is)
the randy newman songbook vol.1
pinback - summer in abaddon (someone i respect musically swears by them)

How are they?

I made it to the seasonal PAC session held in downtown San Jose's Museum of Art this past Friday - Art displayed through diverse form such as through music, spoken word, poetry, dance, painting, and other medium. The above image is actually part of the ongoing exhibit currently held there at the moment, but I wanted to take the time to post it because of its relevance - I forgot the artist, but it is a self portrait of himself, and he is a proclaimed anti-capitalist who believes that it is the factor towards the faceless and brutal realities that comes out of cutthroat business. He essentially expresses how even someone as stought about his beliefs as himself is still susceptible of the allure that is commercialism in america, as represented by mickey. just one of many interesting pieces being displayed, i think the theme is visual politics.
i caught munich at the theaters last night, but am still a little reluctant to express how i feel about it without conducting more research on the background behind the israell/palestine and arab/israeli conflict, something i admit i don't have much knowledge on. if looking at the film as a character study of the main character, however, i thought it was intriguing the portrayal of a man forced to kill and the psychological state he evolves into as the killing advances. one thing that is a little eerie is the amount of what occured at munich during the olympics was documented ( and how down to a T the film recaptured the moment. if anyone feels like enlightening me furthur on this, please do, i'm all ears.
i grabbed a few photos of my office that i'll be leaving in two weeks :-(

And this is just a shot of my workspace at home. Can you tell I'm a Nickel Creek fan? ;-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Currently Listening
Eye to the Telescope
By Kt Tunstall
see related
Will the real slim shady please stand up?

I think it's time for odd ball phrases to headline my entries from here on out. If anything, it'll at least piss off googlers who end up finding my joke of a site instead of eminem. It's amazing the percentage of the passer-byers who end up on this site by accident.

Total randomness but who likes hanging out in groups of three? There's a quote in the Kite Runner about cliches being the bane of writing, but, as the author ponders, why? They are true the majority of the time and absolutely capture the moment and what needs to be stated. Well, the cliche I come across with groups of three is the whole "Three's a crowd" syndrome. Too often whether it's just going out to lunch, hanging out, anything that requires conversation, one of the three is just slighted from the conversation. It takes two, not three. Again with the cliches. I had this in mind when I had lunch with three others today - It was great, two side conversations between two people each broke out for the most part.

Hmm. What did I learn? Don't catch myself in a group of three
If you're living anywhere within the reach of the Mike Marshall & Chris Thile tour that is ongoing, check it out! Caught them over the weekend at beautiful UC Santa Cruz, home of the now annual Mandolin Symposium :) They got us screaming MANDOCELLO!!! Mandolins, Mandola, and Mandocello playing musical range from Bach to the 25/16 time signatures of a Bulgerian trad., whew, I've never seen such mastery of anything in my life! It'll definitely stretch your ears.

new music to give a chance to:
-KT Tunstall
-The Decemberists
-Mike & Chris live duets

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Three random things:

1. Did you catch the Scrubs season premiere? Oh yeah, that was "Anything Can Happen" by the Finn Brothers being played as the backdrop for the entire episode! Whoever does the music there is a god!!

2. Sara of Nickel Creek's latest entry on "normalcy" and the difficulties of life as a traveling musician. I just love how she writes in such an honest and humbling manner!

3. Not that I listen to radio (aside from kfog and npr), but I've heard that not only has channel 1049 succumbed to spanish radio, but live 105 has taken away their only decent programming, Subsonic, their late Saturday night electronic music with real DJ's who (get this) spin their own music and play non-traditional stuff. Oh well. The end of rock? Will XM thrive? We'll have to wait and see.