Monday, February 29, 2016

My Top Twelve Favorite Catalogs

While out driving today I found myself reminiscing about my wonderful experiences shopping via catalog back in the late 90s into 2000s when I was still crazy and isolated and using shopping as a coping mechanism for my mental illness (anxiety, depression, & paranoia), not to neglect to mention,  loneliness and emptiness. It occurred to me to draw up a list of my favorite catalogs I patronized during that time, not merely lurked hoping someday to patronize, but from whom I actually purchased on numerous occasions. 
  1. Bud Plant Comic Art - That title is a joke (well sort of, that is the guy's name) but they did not sell any drug paraphernalia. However, they did offer some amazing art items, especially, comics, graphic novels, art books, and erotic art. They went out of business for a time but seem to be back now. Yay for them! They has since split into two catalogs with the other being Bud's Art Books.
  2. Sovietski Collection - After the Cold War ended, it seemed that everything was for sale in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. I availed myself of the opportunity to acquire some spoils of war given my family was a Cold War-rior family. This catalog is now kaput.
  3. Firefighters Bookstore - I was able to indulge my disaster video obsession quite substantially through this catalog, especially early on as I built my disaster video collection and to a lesser extent, my disaster book library.
  4. The Weather Channel - TWC used to have a cool catalog which allowed one to order their early disaster videos which are now hard to acquire, something else they no longer offer anymore... some great early classic stuff I have on VHS.
  5. Sormani Calendars - For quite a number of years, calendars were an obsession of mine and this catalog catered to it. They specialized in the rare and hard-to-get over-sized calendars.
  6. FSP Books & Videos - This was another source for my indulgence in disaster books and videos as I built up my personal library of such things.
  7. Wind & Weather Catalog - Back when I had money to spend this was a favorite place to spend it.
  8. Paradise on a Hanger - Though no longer in business, this was a fun catalog for which to indulge my past obsession with Hawaiian shirt collecting and wearing.
  9. Real Goods - I purchased not a few things from them during the '90s into '00s. I later visited their campus/store in Hopland, CA, with my mom and then-girlfriend. Interesting place, cool catalog, and great memories.
  10. Raven Maps - More than one expensively-framed map I have owned came from this amazing cartographic catalog. 
  11. Browntrout Calendars - Yet another one of my calendar addiction fixes... this one, West-Coast-based as opposed to East Coast-based Sormani Calendars. 
  12. Lands End - I have purchased more hiking sandals and clothing here than anywhere else, bar none. Nowadays, as an impoverished student I have often received gifts from mom at Christmas from this place.... still great quality.... my best shirts are from this place.

Loving Vincent.... Which I Always Have

I found this on Facebook today and am somewhat haunted by it. Yet it is merely a trailer for the upcoming film "Loving Vincent"... I can only image how powerful the complete film will be. Watch and enjoy the art of Vincent Van Gogh come alive.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Graphic of the Day - Web Levels

This weekend, a conversation evolved on a Yahoo Group to which I'm a member, in regards to the various levels of the Internet (Surface Web, Deep Web, Dark Web). I shared this graphic with the group to help them frame the structure of the Internet.
Image courtesy of

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Something About Christian Weddings

Tonight I worked a wedding at Santa Margarita Ranch involving a young couple who were truly Christian people. This was probably my fourth wedding of such a devout couple. I have noticed a cute pattern to such weddings which continued last night. Whereas secular weddings always go as late as the venue allows, the young Christian couples are always in a hurry to get away as early as possible and the music invariably ends at 9 p.m. and the party breaks up at that point.

One other cute thing about tonight's wedding was that the couple (Nolan and Kelly Scott) have known each other since kindergarten. They grew up in the same Assembly of God church in Sunland, CA, and remained in each other's orbit. By their senior year of high school he asked her to be his prom date which seemed to kindle things. Subsequently, they both attended Biola University from whence they recently graduated. He asked her to marry him while visiting her on her study abroad program in London, England.

In this day and age of jaded cynicism, it is inspiring to know that such people, undoubtedly human and imperfect, nonetheless find the means (through Christ) to live a life conducted in such a way. My work partner, Mike, and I prayed for this couple's wedding and marriage on the drive to work not yet knowing we were praying for this union of two awesome young people.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Quote of the Day - Yeats

While doing research for my senior project I encountered this poem entitled "The Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats. I vaguely remember this poem written in the immediate aftermath of World War I and a reaction to it revealing the growing sense in many people that civilization had ended and the world was hurtling forward out of control. However, for whatever reason this poem did not previously grab me as it did today. This is merely an excerpt from the first stanza:
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Graphic of the Day - Solar Cycles

I'm not sure from when I found this but here it is in all its glory. It shows snapshots of our star from each year from 1996 through last year. Image courtesy unknown.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Giant Case Of Blue Ball

I encountered this ISS video compilation tonight on Youtube quite by accident and was blown away by it.... great ambient soundtrack... even greater footage. It almost makes me want to weep it is so beautiful.... I am thankful to my Creator for creating this place and creating me and placing me on that blue ball despite all the pain and uncomfortableness and loss that comes with it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Picture of the Day - Cthulhu Tree

For those of you familiar with H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos you will get this. Otherwise, just enjoy the image of this tentacled second-growth oak tree near Adelaida off the end of Jensen Road off of Vineyard Drive. Today I was out photographing this property for a friend who is a part-owner and looking to sell.  Photo courtesy of Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Graphic of the Day - Who Owns The West?

Given the recent troubles between the U.S. federal government and white supremacist and separatists types in Oregon, I believe this should provide some interesting grist for the mill. Note: federal lands are merely lands stolen from the previous owners not yet sold to the highest bidder. Image courtesy of unknown (all rights reserved).

Saturday, February 20, 2016

One Of My Typical Facebook Rants

Karen, first off: STOP! You [climate change] deniers ALWAYS try to divert the subject into arguments which ignore actual observable changes that are taking place (because they are the most damning against your belief system) in favor of obfuscation over data sets of temperatures gathered, computer models, etc.

Then, you posit a hackneyed old Right-wing conspiracy theory along the lines of the John Burch Society about global control of people (as if Conservatives also aren't interested in control via oil companies, etc). You do this while ignoring mountains of observations to go along with the reams of data you can't effectively refute, try as you may.

Your assertion that there is "no unusual pattern of warming" is contradicted by the facts! Those of us who are life-long weather watchers and atmospheric science geeks know this from personal observation.

You mention a short-term and lesser warming in the 1860's as a red-herring because it is not the same order of magnitude AND you make the error of suggesting that internal combustion engines are synonymous with industrialization. There was plenty of industrialization before there were cars and there were internal combustion engines before there were cars and as far back as the 1860s.

The charge that there is a financial incentive to publish research that supports Climate Change ignores the fact there is more money to be made publishing the opposite as the Fossil Fuel Industry will pay any hack his price to publish in support of them. Their problem is there are not enough unethical scientists out there willing to sell their souls to Big Oil & Co. It's not about people not wanting to be bad guys and not speak the truth. It's about truth being rejected out of hand by people like you in favor of a culturally and politically-derived view.

The irony is that the Climate Change denier crowd are the ones praising the emperor for his clothes that are not. Clearly you are unaware of all the changes taking place all around the world all the time that all reflect one single climatic trend and this has all happened relatively quickly. 

Just one example is how fast the Arctic and adjacent regions have changed. The militaries of many nations ringing it have had to adjust to knew and warmer climate regimes. This is why the U.S. military is one of the most climate change-engaged branches of the government. They have to operate in various capacities in zones where things are changing and they see it. It's not a matter of politics but of acknowledging reality. 

The nations bordering the Arctic have already had to conduct negotiations regarding access and navigation routes so as to avoid conflict. Russia is aggressively seeking to develop oil fields on their north that were previously inaccessible due to the old climate. 

Epic boreal forest fires in Asia and North America are the summer norm now as are thunderstorms much further north much more commonly in summer. Snow-free sections of the Iditorad Race are more common in more recent decades. 

Warming of permafrost is something that is now having to be dealt with by stakeholders in northern latitudes such as oil companies, highway departments, etc. 

Growing season lengthening, glacial retreat, thermal expansion of the oceans causing rising sea levels, more ice-free ocean leading to more coastal erosion affected Native American coastal communities, etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum. 

You seem ignorant of much reality in favor of a sheltered little worldview driven by petty domestic politics and the Culture War which is used to great effect to distract people on both the Right and the Left. Keep on drinking your Kool-Aid.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ron Burgundy Around The World

I recently found myself watching these Ron Burgundy movie promo appearances and enjoying them even more than in previous times I viewed them. This is my favorite sort of comedic genius on display.... improvisational conversational character comedy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Graphic of the Day - The Bay Area

I encountered this the other day somewhere online and chuckled when realized how it variously humorously and insightfully characterized the various enclaves within the San Francisco Bay Area. For a closer look at this image click HERE.
Image courtesy of Sasha Trubetskoy (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Picture of the Day - Pine Mt. Storm Approach

Today I hiked Pine Mountain in Atascadero, CA. An El Nino-flavored storm was moving into the area at the time which made for an invigorating experience as I felt the storm's energy build in the atmosphere over the course of the walk. As those who follow this blog already know, one of my favorite things to do is to be out in the weather as a storm of any type approaches. I derive great inspiration and healing from feeling the atmosphere change and the power build as the winds pick up intensity and the sky lowers and more cloud texture becomes apparent. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool LIV

Today I saw a dear friend arrested. Several years ago, he retired from a long and honorable career in the Department of Corrections. Law enforcement officers and first responders suffer from a higher incidence of depression and other mental illness such as PTSD than the societal average. This is because their job is so stressful and it goes on for as long as they are in their career. Three years ago my buddy had a psychotic episode where he detached from reality, lost hope and despaired, and sometimes spoke of ending his life. He never threatened anybody nor spoke of using his guns.

On a couple of occasions the police were called to his home by his family due to their fearing for his life. On at least one of those occasions a was "5150-ed" (put on an involuntary psychiatric hold) and his guns shipped out to other family and friends. Pursuant to WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODESECTION 8100-8108 he became prohibited from possessing any firearm, either his own or another person's firearm in his private life or in the course of employment. Consequently, he lost his job as a armed security guard. Not long after all this he returned to normal and has been fine for the three years since.

Within a year or so of those events, he felt it was ridiculous for him to not be able to exercise his Second Amendment rights. Therefore, he got his guns back from family and friends. I felt at the time and still feel that was a mistake on multiple levels. I felt and still feel that as a Christian, he ought to have simply obeyed the laws of the land where they didn't force him to go against the word of God. Also, he simply needed to be patient more than he needed those guns back. In two more years he would have been good to go. Finally, given we do not know what triggered his meltdown, as far as we know it could happen again. In that case, how could it have been good for him to get his guns back prematurely?

Fast-forward to today and my friend was paid an unexpected visit by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Two or three officers arrived to conduct a check of his compliance with W & I 8100-8108. Upon finding his full complement of weapons and ammo they seized it all and arrested him. I watched him hauled off in handcuffs. My friend, retired LE officer and law-abiding citizen. I was disturbed by this and on a number of levels.

I was frustrated with my friend for foolishly failing to comply with a law that was ultimately designed with the public good (including his own) in mind. He ought to have waited to get his guns and ammo back when his ban ended. I was also frustrated with his not moving them back out of the house lately as he had noted a similar sweep as caught up him was recently reported in the local media in Santa Barbara County. If he was so worried about it (and he was) then he ought to have acted decisively. I can't conscion ambivalence and wish-washiness.

However, the more hours he spent being processed at the county jailhouse and the more I thought about the big picture, I increasingly became aware that despite my friend's foolishness, he was also being F-ed in the A by the system. A single one-size-fits-all law was being applied to a situation to which it did not well-fit. Surely there had to be more significant threats to the common weal than my friend. This began to feel like oppression and repression of a gun owner and a slap in the face to an honorable officer of the law, now in retirement. And it does seem to be a bit of a gun-grab by a Liberal-minded government bureaucracy.

I'm aware that family murder-suicides are a bigger problem than school and workplace shootings and the powers that be must cover their arses. However, this particular law and policy seems excessive and misguided. My honorable friend now must appear before a judge and face a fine. He was fortunate that he found favor with the DOJ officers who arrested him. They bent over backwards to go as easy on him as they could, filing only misdemeanor charges. However, I'm disturbed that there could have been felony charges. Something stinks in California.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool LIII

In an Eclectic Arcania first, I have posted Random Musings columns on consecutive days. Tonight's installment is different as it will be a reflection of this day now coming to a close. Typically with this column I am inspired to varying degrees by the structure of Herb Caen's column which I so enjoyed when I discovered it in the early 1990's in its twilight years.

A Day of Detours

As I revealed in the previous Random Musings column, today I was supposed to take the CSET Social Sciences Subtest III. This was to occur in Santa Maria, CA, at a test center at 2 p.m. (Note: Santa Maria is the murder capital of the Central Coast) Today was also President's Day and holiday traffic moving along Highway 101 through the Central Coast was noticeably more pronounced. In fact, it was even worse than typical for a Monday on a holiday weekend.

Right before I left my house to drive down to take the test, I heard on my scanner a dispatch for fire and medics to a traffic collision on northbound Highway 101 at the 13th Street bridge. When I got on Highway 101 southbound from 17th Street in Paso Robles I noticed that the traffic accident I had just heard about on the scanner was blocking traffic on the northbound side creating a rapidly-lengthening of congestion extending southward. I would later learn that this was a matter involving a semi-truck rear-ending a travel trailer which created a huge mess lasting most of the afternoon.

The trend of jacked-up holiday traffic congestion of one sort or another continued the entire drive down to Santa Maria (and back) with some such zones being due to ongoing traffic collisions/mishaps, or due to earlier accidents by-then-cleared but with phantom congestion continuing, or simply due to the sheer volume of traffic overwhelming particular sections of highway.

The ongoing, unseasonable, un-El Niño-esque, mid-winter heatwave continued today with Santa Maria crushing the previous daily high temperature mark by 4° F to 88° F while Arroyo Grande (through which I drove going and coming) hit 90° F.

I got to the Pearson testing site about 45 minutes early so I would have time to study and time to get signed in and set up before starting at the assigned time. I tried to study in the waiting room but they didn't want my text books in the room (lame rule) so I headed back out to my car to study. If only I had checked my wallet before leaving the office at that moment and saved myself 45 more wasted minutes... or had checked my wallet before leaving my house earlier.... or before leaving the testing center at Cal Poly four days ago where I apparently left my drivers license after taking it out of my wallet, but not returning it prior to leaving the building.

That's right, four days ago when I took the CSET Subtest II at the Cal Poly test center, I had to show a government-issued proof of identity because the testers don't want ringers coming in and taking tests for people. I was only allowed to bring to my testing computer my drivers license and a key to a locker containing everything I brought to the test other than the clothes on my back. After the test, when I was gathering all my stuff from the locker and getting ready to rush off to a stressful mid-term test in my Nuclear Science & Society class, I somehow left my drivers license there. Therefore, in the four days since then, I have been driving around without a drivers license on my person. I always keep my license in my wallet so I never thought to check for it in my wallet before leaving for Santa Maria this morning.

Upon realizing my error, I was forced to confront the unpleasant reality that I had burned $99 for nothing (the cost to take the test which is not refundable) as well as the cost of my gasoline and wear and tear on my car as well as the cost of my time which was also an opportunity cost of whatever I did not accomplish with that time instead had I elected to do something different during that time slot.

At this point something interesting happened. I didn't sweat it. I accepted what happened and moved on by getting in my car and driving home the way I came. Of course, I was concerned not to get pulled over by the constabulary now that I realized I was driving without carrying on my person my drivers license. Aside from that I simply let go and reasoned that God had me in that spot for a reason. "What was it?", I internally asked Him.

My first concern was that I was operating outside His perfect will and being subject to a lack of blessing or perhaps more seriously had erred in some way and was suffering slap-on-the-hand consequences. I started with that possibility (Ecclesiastes 7:14) and soon was able to eliminate that possibility and thus moved on to other possibilities. Was to I meet somebody in my path and talk to them? Was I to drive up on a traffic collision right after it happened and render aid and change somebody's life? Or was I simply to get out and take a drive and clear my flustered head on the open road like I used to do in my youth all the while awash in a bath of photons streaming in from the sun on this glorious summer-like day and just listen to Him and realize my personal growth and grow yet more? Yep!

This internal process caused me to realize something: I have changed over the course of the past several years. My zen-like reaction to this day's events was tangible evidence of growth in my being and character over the course of recent years. Dare I call it a measure of spiritual maturation? I'm afraid to jinx myself and get all self-congratulatory and then go fall on my face in spectacular fashion in short order. However, I have grown and I don't typically respond to minor adversities in ways I usually used to. I'm far from perfect and still sometimes overreact to disappointments or setbacks by feeling sorry for myself or feeling exasperated or being tempted to despair. However, I don't usually react in those ways and I did not today.

But wait.... there's more! I noticed yet more about myself. On the drive home I soon realized there was a traffic back-up in Atascadero just north of San Anselmo Road. Without hesitation I did not follow the herd into the morass of traffic and jumped off northbound Highway 101 at the aforementioned road and got onto northbound El Camino Real and paralled the freeway around the problem site (an overturned car resulting from a tire blowout) and then jumped back on the northbound Highway 101 in the clear...

.....until I approached North Main Street in Templeton, CA, and espied an even worse traffic back-up. Again, without mentally skipping a beat, I automatically responded to the situation by choosing not to be a lemming and follow what was before me, but rather I jumped off of the freeway and zipped over the overpass and got onto northbound Theater Drive to go around the traffic and get on Highway 46 West a short distance and then turn northbound onto the South Vine Street frontage road in Paso Robles. I soon encountered gridlock in and around the big Target Shopping Center up that road and near unto the Highway 101/46W intersection. This told me the traffic gridlock (as in not one iota of visible forward motion by any vehicle) extended from in front of Target up Theater Drive around the bend adjacent to the hotels and OSH and through the intersection of Theater Drive and Highway 46 West.

Once again, without the slightest hesitation or dithering, I flipped an illegal U-turn and proceeded back to North Main Street and got back on the freeway southbound to the next exit at Las Tablas Road in Templeton, where I left the freeway and headed west to Bethel Road turning north and taking it to Highway 46 West further out to the west of the congestion having gone entirely around it.... but not entirely. No sooner had I turned eastbound onto Highway 46 than I noticed gridlock up ahead..... meaning the gridlock extended miles east to the 101.... headed towards the back of the back-up and was just barely able to angle turn left onto northbound Arbor Road and took it through the countryside, sometimes on pavement, sometimes on dirt roadbed, to Kiler Canyon Road which I took eastbound back to South Vine just south of First Street/Niblick Road in Paso Robles, CA.

From there it was smooth sailing back home. By now it was apparent to me that the previous accident on Highway 101 many hours ago at the 13th Street Bridge was the culprit of all the gridlock on the waning afternoon of a holiday weekend Monday. This was confirmed when I soon headed back to mom's house in Atascadero. I got back on the 101 Freeway at 17th Street as I did earlier in the day. As I headed south I noticed CALTRANS retrieving all the cones closing down right lane. With the increased road load as people headed home from the holiday at the end of the way, the back-up was even worse now as it extended from about 13th Street in Paso Robles all the way southward through Templeton to just south of Vineyard Ave.... something I have seen before.

Through all these successful detours, I realized a few things. I inherited the tendency from my mother's side of the family to be a great and imaginative driver, if not a bit impulsive and restless. I noticed that I am in many ways, not just in my driving, that I am not so much a follower-type but rather a free-thinker and leader-type. What happened here was allegorical of that in addition to being an expression of it directly. Most importantly, I realized there was symbolism in all the days setbacks and detours and yet I was constantly moving forward and yet staying safe and getting other things done, merely not the ones for which I planned.... just like my life has been more generally in recent years and undoubtedly will continue to be.

God is good.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool LII

It has been nearly two months since the previous Random Musings was posted which is an unusually short interval in recent times. During that span this blog has received over 25,000 distinct visits. This edition will only feature the latest stuff going on with me which unfortunately seems the trend of late with these columns unlike a few years ago when I often included my observations or shared interesting factoids about a variety of topics. Next time which is soon, I plan to return to that model with this column. In the meantime, here's the latest on my efforts at getting from the classroom (where I learn) into the classroom (where I teach).

Winter 2016 Mid-Term Update

I am now mid-way through the current quarter at Cal Poly. This term took longer to get settled into than it has ever taken me in any term at any level of higher education. This was due to my inability to get into the four-unit Healthy Living (Kinesiology 250) class which I had initially attempted to add during my official sign-up period late last quarter. At that time I was automatically blocked from taking it due to KINE 250 being considered equivalent to Multicultural Health (Kinesiology 255). At Cuesta College I took a multicultural health class that was transferable to Cal Poly as the equivalent of KINE255. I also was informed not to worry about the block as I would be able to easily add it by crashing the class the first day and receiving an "add" code from the instructor. However, this did not work as the block persisted and I was informed in no uncertain terms that I would not be allowed in the class. For the teaching credential I must take either KINE 250 (which is no longer an option) or Health Education For Teachers (Kinesiology 443). The single-subject history teaching credential grad program prefers students take KINE 443 (which includes first-aid and CPR unlike KINE250 or 255), but allows for KINE250, too. Whereas, the multi-subject teaching credential grad program through the Education Department at Cal Poly only accepts KINE443. For some reason my buddy Blake who has been my wing-man at Cal Poly, was able to get into KINE 250 after taking the same multicultural health class at Cuesta College. The only explanation I can come up with is that since he took KINE250 a year ago there has been some sort of requirement change.

In any case, by the time I realized all of this, Week One had ended. I looked into crashing KINE443 a week late, but it is only offered as an evening class in a bad time slot in the week for me and thus is not an option quarter. Later, I discovered that it is not even offered at all next quarter, my graduation quarter. Fortunately, I am allowed to take it concurrently with my teaching credential course-load next year. However, my inability to take one or the other of the kinesiology classes created a problem for me. I need to be taking 12 or more units per quarter to receive the maximum amount of grant and loan money with which to attend Cal Poly. Without a kinesiology class this quarter, I was stuck at 10 units. I scrambled to switch the two education-related classes I ideally need to take before entering the teaching credential grad program, to wit, exchange Historical, Philosophical, and Social Foundations of Public Education (Education 300) in place of KINE443. The time slot worked and there was room for me in the class, but the two instructors were out of town at a conference and being un-tech-savvy were unable to reach their emails until their return at nearly the end of Week Two by which time I had missed the deadline to get into a class without applying for a special waiver costing $20. Fortunately, I did get into the class being granted my waiver but was by that point two weeks behind everybody else. I am doing well in the class but am still getting caught up. I absolutely love my two instructors, to wit, Dr. Frances Mayer and Dr. Sidonie Wiedenkeller.

This quarter I am also taking the four-unit History of Prostitution (History 421) with Dr. Christina Firpo (with whom I took Research & Writing Seminar In History or History 303 during my first quarter at Cal Poly). This class "double-counts" as it satisfies my requirement that I take (and pass) three 400-level history classes and three non-European/non-American history classes in addition to a host of other requirements. This class focuses on prostitution and other forms of "unfree" labor in Southeast Asia, mostly during the Colonial Period but reaching back often to what existed before Colonialism as it pertains to the changes that Colonialism wrought. I am also taking the first half of my senior project, to wit, History 460 or Senior Project I which is good for two units and is the research half of the project. I am very behind in that class unfortunately. Fortunately, I am taking it with Dr. Lewis Call who understands my situation and what I am having to deal with both with school and my ongoing family dramas and traumas. I am also taking a class I have had my eye on since I first arrives on campus over a year ago, to wit, Nuclear Science & Society or SCM335 (Science & Math 335) with Dr. Jim Eickemeyer. This class has thus far been fascinating and the most useful class this quarter. In it next week I shall be giving a PowerPoint presentation on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident in Japan.

Last week, I signed up for my classes next quarter, my final quarter as an undergraduate student at Cal Poly. I will be taking Senior Project II (History 461) with Dr. Call again as well as my last history major requirement which I neglected to take a year ago this quarter when I should have, to wit, Political Economy of Latin America and the Middle East (History 214) with Dr. Cameron Jones, one of my favorite professors at Cal Poly. I will also be taking Introduction to Shakespeare (English 339) a Dr. Fitzhenry whom everybody seems to agree is wonderful. This class will satisfy my C4 requirement (Literature/Philosophy/Arts Upper Division Course). I had hoped to get into either of the two movie classes which involved watching movies and writing papers on them, to wit, Film Styles and Genres (English 371) or Film Directors (English 372). Unfortunately and rather surprisingly, neither is offered the last quarter of this academic year when seniors could most use them. Lastly, in order to remain at full-time student status (12+ units) I have signed up for the Air & Space class I have heard about (AERO310).

Getting Into The Classroom

One of the requirements of  for completing the teaching credential grad program is to sit on on classes and observe and if asked, assist the instructor. However, I feel this is probably more relevant to the lower grades where multi-subject teaching is occurring and instructors can use more hands on deck to help in the classroom. In any case, I had to be LiveScanned and checked per Megan's Law as well as take a TB test to make certain I have not been exposed to the disease. I occurred to me that I could probably get that done at no additional coast in the campus health center and I was correct. While I was in getting that done I elected to go ahead and get my long-overdue tetanus shot which I upgraded to a Tdap vaccination at no additional cost to me.

They Like Me, They Really Like Me

In the case of Paso Robles Unified School District, they seem to realize they have had some problems and seem to be taking solid steps to address those issues. They have also had to deal with a great many retirements in recent times and that is not unique to PRUSD. It appears that now is the best time in a very long time to get into teaching before the window of opportunity shuts again when hiring catches up to demand or when the economy goes in the crapper next time which it will given that capitalism is a boom & bust cycle-driven system.

While talking to the admin at PRHS regarding sitting on on classes I was given a bit of a hiring pitch from the assistant principal whom I really like.... he's a cool but no-nonsense sort of guy. The principal recently left so there is a temporary management situation there which seems to have the assistant principal probably having to do more than usual. He made it clear to me that they like teachers who are willing to do extra stuff like coach or lead in some other activity when I told him I wanted to help coach. He also informed me that the health care package is about to get better at PRUSD. The head headhunter at human resources in the PRUSD in the district offices I had to go into as part of the process of getting on campus was very cool and she seemed keenly interested in me and even gave me her card and asked that I keep in touch with her.

Given I was given no such pitch at the Atascadero Unified School District offices or at  Atascadero High School and that there seem to be no openings there I suspect I will not be working in Atascadero fresh out of grad school. However, things can change and over a year from now who knows how the battlefield will look? It's also possible the only places hiring will be junior high schools or middle schools upon my graduation from the teaching credential program. I might be facing the option of leaving the area or at least the North County to teach high school or else settle to teach junior high or middle school in order to stay in this area.

Finally In The Classroom....

In Week Five I finally got in to observe some classrooms being taught. I got accepted into Paso Robles High School first so I checked out  two classes there, Mr. Land's standard U.S. government and civics class and Mr. Bradford's Honors world history class. Both seem to be effective teachers and showed me how different things are done now compared to when I was in high school.

In California, sophomores take world history, juniors take U.S. history, and seniors take a semester each of econ and civics which I believe was the case when I was there 1985-1989. Within that horizontal framework of class track by grade level there is a framework of three levels of ascending difficulty: standard, honors, and advanced placement (AP).

In Week Six (last week), I finally got into Atascadero High School (my alma mater) and stayed all day watching four class sessions. I watched two consecutive sessions of my old school mate and teammate David Donati teach standard world history to sophomores. Then I watched Ben Tomasini teach AP world history and finished the day in Christine Williams' AP civics class. All four class sessions and all three teachers taught me something(s) useful. I also spent the lunch period talking to Athletic Director Sam DeRose who was an assistant varsity football coach back when I was in high school playing varsity football for Larry Welsh. Sam gave me some interesting insights and it was good that I let him know I'm getting into the teaching career locally and soon.

....And At A School Board Meeting

Last week I also attended a Paso Robles Unified School District Board meeting and I wasn't bored. They welcomed two new hires to the athletic department, including a former Greyhound football star who went on to some success in Arena League Football.  They also went over some generalities regarding remodeling and new construction at various district facilities within the context of a bond measure. They also discussed and congratulated themselves over how the district handled a recent student death. That death turned out to be a 12 year-old girl killing herself after being bullied by other girls, at least one of whom was a freshman at the high school and was heard to say something to the effect of "good, she deserved to die." This is hardly the first and surely won't be the last such case but for some reason this one bothered me more than most.

Networking Baby!

I worked an event at the Colony Inn in Atascadero last Friday night. There, one of the important organizers of the performing arts event was Kathy Hannemann, a long-time educator within Atascadero Unified School District. She and I hit it off and I learned a lot from her in a short time while just chatting with her and I got to network with her and let her know I'm getting into the biz just so word can get spread via yet one more avenue. Also notable there was that a very nice lady representing Rio Seco Winery was pouring her wine at intermission. Carol Hinkle and I talked at length during the show about local schools and such as she, too, is well-connected locally to a lot of what is going on and who matters so yet another score for me and I hope she was entertained by her chat with me.


Last month I took the CSET Social Studies Subtest I. Last week I got back the results which are that I passed the test. It is worth noting that I took the test "cold" which is to say, I did not study for it. Last week I took Subest II and I took it cold, but by accident. I thought that test was for civics so I reviewed my old textbook from Cuesta College. However, as it turned out, that test is history so my studying did me no good. Apparently, Subtest I is world history and geography whereas Subtest II is American history. I have to wait about a month for the results from that test. Tomorrow I take Subtest III which I have learned is civics and economics but focusing on the U.S. and California. I shall study for it tonight and tomorrow morning by reviewing my political science and macroeconomics textbooks from Cuesta College and bone up on my U.S. Constitution again as I did before Subtest II last week. After I take my third of three CSET tests tomorrow, I plan to sign up to take my CBEST test which is also required in order to get into the teaching credential grad program. It is worth noting that each of these tests cost me $99 and I am supposed to have them all passed by April 30, 2016, despite the fact that one wait 30-45 days to get results before knowing if one need retake a test. At least on have one of them knocked out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Awakened To 6am

Tonight while taking a brief patrol stroll through just a tiny bit of Youtube in search of notable electronica tracks, I came upon this trance gem entitled "6am" by Cressida remixed by the German trance collaboration of Kyau & Albert. Pump up your speakers and enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Picture of the Day - Pile of Pussycats

This was the scene on my mother's front deck yesterday. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Picture of the Day - California Dreamin'

Today the Central Coast of California was warmed and stirred by mild Santa Ana Winds which were more intense further south and will intensify in the coming days with near-record temperatures possible as well as the threat of wildfires despite the recent rains from the current record-setting El Niño. Above is the quintessential California mid-wintertime image of a palm tree being stirred by Santa Ana Winds with a background of a clear deep-blue sky. The photo was taken this afternoon in Atascadero, CA.
Photo courtesy of Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Now I'm 294

Tonight I reached my highest weight ever.... 294 lbs. If I don't turn this thing around this year I will either die or I will acquire a chronic illness like diabetes. Fortunately although I look heavy I do not look nearly 300 lbs. However, that won't last if I hold onto this body fat much longer. I hate how my body feels and looks and how it moves. Change is coming one way or the other!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cleverest Obit Ever

I spotted this on Facebook today and immediately loved it. This is by far the most clever obituary I have read thus far. If one does not possess a modicum of computer code knowledge then one might not get much of the humor contained therein. Photo credit unknown.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Why Go? I Know!

I have loved Faithless since I first heard their eclectic electronica hybrid of house and trance back in 2001. Here is one of their gems I discovered only in recent years from their first compilation album back in 2005. They had previously released this song as sung by Boy George in 1998, but this version is better with vocals by Estelle. The theme/plot of the accompanying music is also rather charming to go along with the catchy tune this song is.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Picture of the Day - I Look So Cheap

The manner in which I tithe is in keeping with the tradition of not letting the right hand know what the left hand doeth. I give anonymously.... most of the time. Occasionally, I forget myself and mindlessly include my name on a tithing envelope which then causes that gift to be officially attributed to me and goes into the tax records. Year-before-last I did this once and got back an Annual Giving Report with a single $20 gift. This past year I bettered that by one gift and tripled the previous dollar total. In reality, I gave much more than that both years but only a small fraction of what I gave was actually attributed to me. I wanted to remain entirely anonymous but instead I just appear cheap. Oh well. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Top 25 Most Pretentious Academic Words

I have encountered a number of words used in secondary sources which I have read in my various history classes at Cal Poly. Below is a list of words that while I feel they are good to know and even quite useful when used appropriately. I even use some of them to varying degrees. However, these same words are often employed in scholarly contexts to quite effective affectation. That others sometimes (okay, often-times) use these words pretentiously and ostentatiously does not mean they are not wonderful words when used appropriately. I invite you to know what they mean and use them yourself when appropriate. However, I do declare that each of these words has been employed in scholarly literature that I have personally read that in the manner used annoyed me on more than one occasion.
 Note: these definitions are in my own words but are verified for accuracy and contain hyperlinks to more information each.
  1. agency ~ The capacity to make personal choices.
  2. deviant ~ Outside of norms. Non-normative.
  3. dialectic ~ Discourse involving people of differing perspectives with the goal of establishing the truth.
  4. discursive ~ In a Foulcauldian sense the word is pared with "formation" or "practice" to refer to the qualities of modes of framing research or establishing rules for knowledge-marking..
  5. epistemology ~ How do you know what you know?
  6. gendered ~ Of or pertaining or dominated by traditional gender norms.
  7. hegemony ~ Control by means of indirect control and implied threat.
  8. hermeneutics ~ The study of the interpretation of texts.
  9. historiography ~ What others have written about history.
  10. homosocial ~ non-sexual same-sex relationship.
  11. metropole ~  The imperial center as referenced in postcolonial studies. 
  12. normative ~ What is considered normal or has become normalized.  
  13. ontology ~ The study of the nature of being.
  14. other ~  A non-conforming group.
  15. patriarchy ~ A male-dominated social system.
  16. philology ~ The study of the written word.
  17. reification ~  Giving something physical form.
  18. semiotics ~ The study of meaning.
  19. space ~ In a Kantian sense of the word to suggest that space is subjective and artificial.
  20. subaltern ~ Those without a voice in the colonial period.
  21. tautology ~ Something perceived as truth by means of its being oft repeated.
  22. teleology ~ Explaining how/why something is the way it is. 
  23. typology ~ The classification of things.
  24. unfree ~ coercive or otherwise lacking complete personal agency 
  25. vernacular ~  The distinct language or dialect of a particular people.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Atomburbs vs. Atombombs: A Different Type of Distributed Network

Last spring at Cal Poly I took Dr. Lewis Call's History of Network Technology (History 354). Early on we discussed Paul Baran's concept of the "distributed network" in regards to networked computer systems during the Cold War which was s design which thwarted the efficacy of a nuclear assault disabling a computerized command and control network. This concept via ARPANET ultimately evolved into the modern internet and transformed the face of the modern world and how we all live. Fast-forward to today and I am conducting research for my senior project. The moment I found this image it occurred to me that it is a different sort of "distributed network," this one a network of distributed communities thus designed to minimize the efficacy of a nuclear attack by spreading the population out so much that there would be no population centers to target. This concept, christened the "atomburb," was created by the then-Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of Chicago later to be called the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
Image courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (all rights reserved).