Saturday, August 30, 2008


Musical meerkat.

I found this meerkat at a Syracuse zoo sitting on a bongo drum in the corner of its enclosure. There weren't any zoo keepers nearby to explain the presence of a drum, so this shall remain one of life's great mysteries.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Going backwards.

As I mentioned before I have been spending 10 hours a day for the last three weeks learning to be a truck driver. I am getting pretty good at the driving and shifting parts of the whole thing, but some of the maneuvers we have to perform perplex me a little.

One such maneuver is the alley dock which is a very straight forward, or straight backward rather, bit of driving which requires you to put a truck into a box outlined by four cones without hitting them. If you miss backing the truck into this box, you are allowed to pull up, straighten out, and attempt to back into the box again.

This is not a difficult thing to do, as my classmates demonstrate repeatedly, yet I have not found my key to getting this procedure under control. The instructional designer side of my brain tries to figure out how I can explain the alley dock to myself in terms and concepts that will make the most sense.

I know that everybody learns differently and that simply presenting the material to a learner and telling them to learn it is a lousy way to teach and is bound to fail. I also know that this class did not benefit from the use of such staples of instructional design as the ADDIE model, so I can not expect the pedagogy to adopt to my own learning style (which would be ideal in any teaching situation because it would result in a higher rate of success on the part of the learners, but also would be impractical since teaching the same material using different approaches would not be cost effective) and yet I seem to have a hard time putting the steps together in a successful sequence.

There is one more week of class before the CDL test and by that time I need to figure out how to solve the instructional design problem that lies before me. Whatever the outcome, being both the instructional designer and the learner is proving to be very difficult.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Games and sports.

As I mentioned before, I have been watching the Olympics for 28 years. In that time I have seen many changes take place, many new sports added. So I thought I would put together a list of sports that I think should be included in the future Olympics.

Here is that list:
  • Polo - There are simply not enough horse events in the Olympics. There is already Water Polo which means that the regular, or Land Polo, game should also be represented. Besides, if we send multimillionaires to represent the US under the guise of the Men's Basketball Team, why not include some of the super rich, too.
  • Bocce - This is a game that combines elements of both bowling and curling. Variations of this game are played throughout the world which means that there won't be a shortage of players. And the best part is: it's really old, the Ancient Romans had a game like Bocce.
  • Street Luge - Winter Olympics have Luge, which is not as dangerous and as exciting to watch as Street Luge, so Summer Olympics should have Street Luge. And the host city won't even have to build a venue for this event. All you need is a steep downhill and a lot of hay bails, or used tires, to stop the racers from impacting nearby buildings.
  • Shuffleboard - This is a game mainly played by older people. Since 30 is too old in some sports, and people are living longer these days, including it in the Olympics would increase the age of the Olympians. If Shuffleboard is included we might even see an octogenarian gold medalist.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Last two weeks.

I have been busy in the last two weeks. To improve my employability I started a CDL, which stands for Commercial Drivers License, class on August 4th. Since then I have a passed my permit test and am now learning to drive and maneuver a tractor trailer. This is the biggest vehicle I have ever driven and it can be a bit challenging. These classes last ten hours and take a lot out of you by the end of the day.

And when I wasn't busy with that I was watching the Summer Olympics. During the opening ceremonies it dawned on me that I have been watching various Olympics for the last 28 years. I can't remember if I watched the 1976 Summer Olympics since I was only three at the time, but my memory of watching the opening ceremonies of the Moscow Olympics four years later is quite vivid.

There are a couple Olympic issues, such as the Chinese Girls Gymnastics team and the new extra innings rule for baseball, I would like to address, but at present I do not have the time so I will focus on them later. Please stand by.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Holy cow.

This is a lifesized plastic cow that stands outside of a local ice cream shop during business hours. The owners like to dress her up on occasion, but I am not quite sure which holiday inspired this outfit.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Time capsule.

I came across this sign hidden under a bush in a front yard on West Third Street.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Knoebels at night.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August afternoon.

This is a poem I wrote earlier today. I left the front door open after getting the mail and the lack of street noise inspired me.

August Afternoon

My front door is open

but I can not hear the street

that usually flows outside

Its flow has ebbed

on this Summer Saturday and

all the people who travel

Along this street have

gone elsewhere for the moment

leaving an empty quiet

behind them like a wake

Playing dress up.