BrondaBailey’s Weblog

Coming to you live from the Village!

Post to Private Chop’s Blog

Since I know there are quite a few of you out there who just can’t get enough of my blog posts, I just wanted to give you a heads up that there’s a new blog post up at Lindsie’s basic training blog written by yours truly.  Give it a look if you’re interested.

Click here to read away!

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November 10, 2008 Posted by | Check this action out!, Family News, Ron's Posts | | Leave a comment

A Tribute to John Williams (made by people much more talented than I)

Props to Jeremy for sending me this recently added YouTube video – possibly the next big Internet meme.  (Knowing how much traffic my blog gets, I’m sure it will be!)  Before we get started, the guy in the video didn’t actually sing any of the parts, however, his timing and lip syncing ability are something to behold.  (How many of you thought you’d ever read that someone’s lip syncing ability is something to behold, especially on my blog of all places?)  This will take four minutes of your time, but it seems worth it to me.

First, off, this made me think of Andy on The Office with all his goofy a Capella stuff.  Now, for the sad news.  The very talented vocalists go by the name “moosebutter.”  That’s right, not only is their name stupid, they also apparently couldn’t afford the capital letter “M” for their name when they registered with the trademark people.  It’s sad what America has come to these days.  Judging by the photo on the front page of their website, their “shtick” (does an a Capella group really need a shtick?  Shouldn’t all that harmonizing be enough?) is to wear sweat bands on their heads – you know because singing takes so much out of you sometimes.  Maybe they drink gallons of gatorade too on stage – I don’t know.

As I saw the sweat bands in their photo, I realized that I had seen them before – they were the rival singing group in the Mormon boy band movie “Sons of Provo.”  You know, that incredibly famous and money-raking-in niche film that lampoons Mormon culture through song and dance?  I can’t be the only one who remembers the classic song, “Diddly Wack Mack Mormon Daddy” can I?  I own the film, and anyone who reads here is welcome to borrow it if your interested in seeing more of moosebutter, though whatever they did in the movie is not anywhere near as memorable as this Star Wars tribute (since I remember the sweat bands more than anything else.)

Since I liked the song so much, I decided to help them out and pay the 99 cents to download the song for my future entertainment.  Maybe if enough people support them, they will be able to afford that capital “M” they need and that’ll propel them to super stardom.

Maybe.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Quality Video gleaned from the 'Net, Ron's Posts | , , , | 4 Comments

Pumpkin Ice Cream . . . Mmmm . . . Mmmm . . . Good!

Ok, first off, that title is misleading.  I freely admit it. And I know that the season for jack o’ lanterns has officially, passed, but I couldn’t help passing this on (it’s one of those pictures I took specifically for the blog – plus, if I don’t post this now, it may never happen.)  And hey, pumpkins are associated with a certain harvest festival too last time I checked, so I’m pretty sure I won’t get in trouble for posting this.

Halloween

So, at first glance this might appear to be some kind of large dollop of brightly colored, festive ice cream with some kind of marshmallowy cream down rolling down the side.  As you’ve probably already noticed, it is not, ice cream.  This is actually a bread bowl and some really good soup that my dear, sweet mother prepared for us on Halloween.  I’m sure that some of you have seen these before, but I was so taken with them that I thought that taking a picture for the blog would be fun, then I realized how much they don’t look like a bread bowl in the picture.  So far, the massive amount of food coloring I assume was involved in the baking of this product has not adversely affected my gastro-intestinal system – let’s hope it stays that way.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Check this action out!, Ron's Posts | , | 2 Comments

Halloween ’08

Halloween Lightsabers

Jedi Trainee Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master Yoda, and Padawan Bariss Offee on the prowl for candy (with cool lightsaber effects!)

Greetings faithful blog readers – this is your somewhat less than faithful blog writer!  I’ve been a little wishy-washy about upkeep on the blog of late.  It might have something to do with video games.  It might have something to do with the 4 week old cold I’ve had for 3 too many weeks.  It might have something to do with life in general.  I’m not sure – but here’s the news:  I’m back!

Halloween

"When 900 years old you reach, have cool pants like me you will not!"

So, Friday was of course, my favorite holiday based on Scottish and Irish traditions brought to America in the nineteenth century.  (I was going to say my favorite holiday based on pagan traditions, but many of our modern holidays parallel traditions from those wacky pagans of yore – see here for more details.)

Anyway, since Friday was a teacher work day, Luke came to hang out with me at the end of the day.  We went down to see our favorite shop and PE teachers Joy and Kim and posed for some fun pictures in front of the lockers down there.  Yes, I’m supposed to be Luke Skywalker (a Skywalker who had apparently been eating too much candy and not doing enough Jedi training) with Yoda (the real Luke) on my back.

Halloween

Sydney and Luke hanging out on Grammy's couch

After Bren got home, we hit the road to show off our cute little Jedi Master.  We ended up visiting Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Robinson, Grandma and Grandpa Berry, Grammy Bailey (Wendy, Vince, and Sydney were there and Britt of course), Great-Grandma Brown, Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Bailey, Grandpa Bailey, and Bert and Lisa (along with good old Skyler and Camden.)  Driving to see everyone in one night pushed my patience in the car a little bit, but it was very nice to get the chance to see so many members of our family in one day.

We didn’t actually go trick-or-treating at all since we were too busy visiting people (luckily I have enough money now to just go buy the candy I want!)  Adam, at least, will be happy to hear that we didn’t attend a trunk or treat.  🙂

Luke Pre-Halloween

Bonus Picture! Luke in his Chewbacca attire!

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If enough people email the Boy Scouts, maybe this will become a reality

Merit badges are an important part of being a Boy Scout.  You have to earn a butt-load of them to get your Eagle Scout.  I did five more than required for Eagle and earned my Bronze Palm too (at which point I learned how to settle for the bronze.)  There’s one kid out there who earned them all in 2007 (well, probably not all during that year, that’s when the news story is dated.)  He says bugling was the hardest of the 122 which he earned, by the way.  Is your interest piqued?  I know mine is, so here’s a few of my favorite merit badges you can earn at the moment: American Labor, Composite Materials, Disabilities Awareness, and Pulp and Paper.

Disabilities awareness?  Sign me up!

Those are just a few of the exciting, interesting, cool, current merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America (and just what the heck is composite materials anyway?  And if I if I’ve never even heard of it before, why is it a merit badge?!)  Sadly, I have distressing news.  The Bee Keeping, Book Binding, Citrus Fruit Culture, and Pigeon Raising merit badges have all been discontinued.  No, really, those were all proud member of the merit badge family at one point (check here!)  I have selected my own personal favorite discontinued badge – and I’m definitely going with the stalking badge.

Wait, stalking?  WHAT THE . . . why was there a badge in stalking?  After extensive research (I looked at the first three links that come up in google when you search for stalker merit badge and didn’t immediately find the answer) I can officially declare that I have no idea what this was about.

Anyway, with so many good merit badges going the way of the dodo – even the very important merit badge to prepare you for repetitive, dangerous factory work (Foundry Practice! – really!) – I feel the need to encourage the Boy Scouts to create at least one, new, more modern merit badge:  the Video Game merit badge.  I’ve written up a set of suggested requirements:

1.  Earn 1000 X-Box Live Achievement Points or 20 Playstation Network Trophies.

2.  Explain the benefits of a head shot in a First Person Shooter.

3.  Research a video game developer.  List the titles this developer has worked on.  Describe to your merit badge counselor the challenges this developer has overcome as well as his weaknesses.

4.  Do ANY two of the following:

A.  Attend a formal video game conference (E3, GDC, TGS, etc.)  Describe your feelings at the priviledge of attending such an event to your counselor.

B.  Cosplay (dress as a video game character) for Halloween or in conjunction with requirement 4-A.  Take an active role in creating your costume.

C.  Email an online gaming “celebrity.”  Discuss with that person ways to enter the industry.  Report to your counselor on your chances of starting a career in video games.

D.  Write a review of a game (either modern or retro.)  Submit it to a gaming website.  Share their reply with your merit badge counselor.

5.  Describe your feelings about motion control.  Do you think it constitutes a revolution?  Share your opinions with a counselor.

6.  Do ANY one of the following:

A.  Complete a game that requires at least 20 hours of play time.

B.  Take the top spot in an online game consisting of at least 15 other players.

C.  Do more than 2000 hula-hoop spins in a 5 minute period on Wii Fit.

D.  Post  a speed run of your beating a game in less than 10 minutes to a video website.

7.  Describe a n00b.  Become l33t.

Oh, and the Nut Culture merit badge?  It officially got dropped in 1954 and America has never been the same since.

October 25, 2008 Posted by | Nerd Lore, Ron's Posts | , | 7 Comments

Crap Fair for everyone!

There’s a sign hanging on the fence outside Clearfield High School that I see every morning as I drive by on my way to work and on my way home:

Those of you who know my feelings on so called “Craft” Fairs might not be surprised to know that I did a little editing to the sign to make it more “honest.”

Now that's more like it!

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | | 6 Comments

My classroom

I was thinking the other day (wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles) and I decided that I’d make a blog post about my classroom. Most of you reading this have never seen my classroom, despite the fact that I spend a fair portion of my life in between those walls, and I thought you might like to take a peek behind the curtain.

My Classroom

Since that's been there 3 years, I really should clean the old double-sided tape off the door frame one of these days.

Welcome to Portable 10 – my classroom. You might think that being in a portable is a pain. Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t complain if I were a little closer to the faculty restroom and if the PE students banged on the portable a little less, but it does have advantages as well. I’ve never once been reprimanded for my classroom being too loud (and that’s saying something.) There are kids running through the hall distracting my students by waving from the doorway. Being able to control my own climate (including air conditioning unlike the main building) isn’t a bad thing either.

My Classroom

"Does whatever a spider can"

The first thing you’d probably notice as you enter my room is the Spider-Man plush web-slinging across the ceiling above my desk, as it is directly in front of the door.  Besides looking really cool, this Spider-Man actually has a fair bit of sentimental value to me – but I’m saving that story for a post I’ve been ruminating on for quite some time about adoption.  Anyway, Brenda and I strung him up with fishing line to make him look super cool.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure how he would look not hanging, it’s not like he was made in a seated position.

My Classroom

Click on the picture to go to the Flickr page where all the toys are labeled with notes! How exciting!

Behind my desk (below and to the right of Spider-Man) is my “wall o’ toys.”  I’m going to be straight with you – I cannot think of a good academic theory (not a single one, although I haven’t thought about them since college, so . . .)  Excuse my interruption of myself – I can’t think of a single good reason to have all these toys in my room.  But guess what?  I don’t care.  They’re mostly there because I have no display room at home and because I think it communicates to my students a lot about me (i.e. Mr. Bailey thinks toys are cool.)  There’s quite a variety of things.  There are historical bobbleheads I got from Jeremy as a white elephant gift once, the Cheat Commandos that Brenda bought me for Christmas one year (and their paper playsets!) and plenty of little Star Wars trinkets.  Some I’ve purchased over the years (I’ve owned that plush Yoda way back since  high school) and some have been gifts from students along the way.  I really think this wall describes me well.

My ClassroomOn top of my CPU, I proudly display my husky in his officer jacket.  Yes, this is like the fairly goofy, old-school sweater I own as the student government advisor and proudly wear once or twice a year (that wool gets hot fast.)  I bought the husky, but Brenda made the sweater/jacket thing for him.

My ClassroomRight inside the door to the immediate right, I proudly display the flag of our country.  To the left of the flag is my fish “bubble.”  I saw these on the Internet on a list of cool decorations a few years back and just had to get one.  I overspent getting one on eBay right then, only to be dismayed when I saw one in a pet store a month or so later for a much cheaper price.  Oh well, I still really enjoy it.

My Classroom

This year, the officers named the fish Puff Daddy. I was thrilled.

My ClassroomOk, last one.  Here’s what my classroom looks like from the back of the room.  I normally arrange the desks in the fairly standard, tried and true method of placing the desks in rows as opposed to the trendy horseshoe or in groups facing each other (although for group activities like the one we had the day I took the picture, they do move into group formation.)  You can see the podium that my father-in-law helped me build (from scratch!) and my projector (mounted for the last couple of years, removing the ability for me to trip over a giant train of cords in front of everyone) which I use extensively for power point presentations, news clips, videos, and with the recent acquisition of my document camera, I now use instead of a traditional overhead projector.

I hoped you’ve enjoyed this “insider only” peek into the world of Mr. Bailey.  If nothing else, this should make you feel grateful that you’re no longer in the seventh grade.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | From the Frontlines of the Education of America, Ron's Posts | , , | 2 Comments

Fillmore – the once (and hopefully not future) capital of Utah

Utah Territorial Statehouse

I looked carefully - there was no do not touch sign.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Here's a picture of the architectural drawings. FUN FACT: The same guy (Truman O. Angell) designed the Territorial Capitol building and the Salt Lake Temple.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

It's officially called the "Territorial Statehouse" on the brochure - but since it wasn't ever the capitol when Utah was a state, I don't understand why they call it a "statehouse."

One of the unfortunate totally awesome things about being in a family with a history teacher is that you get dragged off to all kinds of places that normal people don’t find terribly interesting. Lindsie had to go to the Golden Spike National Historic Site once with me and a few years back Brenda and I spent a lovely weekend in Vernal for our anniversary so I could take some pictures of petroglyphs inside Dinosaur National Monument too. Since we went down to St. George this weekend, I decided we should stop on our way back at Fillmore so I could see the Territorial capitol. I’ve talked about it in Utah Studies class for years, but I’d never been there, so this seemed like a good chance to snag some pictures for my power point presentation in class and have a nice break from driving.

WARNING: HISTORY CONTENT AHEAD – And so Brenda, Luke and I pulled off the freeway into the thriving metropolis of Fillmore, Utah (population as of 2000: 2,253.) In 1850, Utah Territory was created. It was a lot smaller than Brigham Young’s original plan for a State of Deseret, but still much larger than today’s Utah (woot, Utah once owned most of Nevada!) Despite being settled before many other cities in Utah (Cedar City was founded the same year, Logan seven years later, and St. George 10 years later) Fillmore never really caught on with people as a great place to live. As a city, it came into being when Brigham Young, who had been appointed governor in the year before, chose it as the site for the new territorial capital in 1851. Utah was still larger then (see the map) and the site was chosen because of it was basically at the geographical center of the territory. That may not make much sense in today’s world of instant communication, but I think for the time period it was a novel solution to the problem of everything being a very long horse ride away.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

I really like this model. I do. It shows the basic outline of what the capitol was supposed to look like - and the red section is the part that was actually built. But I do admit I wonder why they let a first grader color it with a dying crayola marker. Shouldn't it, you know, look . . . good?

Unfortunately, novel ideas don’t always work out. The new city was named Fillmore (in Millard County), after one of the (somewhat) revered Presidents of our great nation – Millard Fillmore.  Naming both the city and a county after the guy may seem a little much. This was at least partially due to an attempt and a desire to keep the Mormon’s on the president’s good side, but I like to think that there was at least some gratitude on their part as well for being made a territory so quickly after settlement. One section of the capitol was completed, and used for two full and one partial session of the territorial legislature – but a much more grandiose building was planned.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

The outside walls were never even stuccoed to make them all smooth and pretty as planned. The workmen who built the building carved their initials into the rock because they thought it would later be covered up. See the "SB" in the shadow in the top center?

The attempt to curry political favor floundered though, when President Fillmore was refused re-nomination from the Whig Party (many Northern Whigs still held grudges against him for signing the Compromise of 1850 – I still do too, but I’m not a Whig.) The Whigs instead nominated the increasingly rotund war hero Winfield Scott, who lost badly to Franklin Pierce – neither one of them was incredibly popular though.  In protest over the two crappy candidates, Daniel Webster got 7,000 or so votes despite the small problem that he was, you know, dead at the time.  Anyway, President Fillmore left office and Utah Territory quickly lost its funding to finish its new capitol (as you know, Mormons weren’t very popular back in the day), which stands about like it did then, not even one quarter finished. As far as I can tell, with no money to finish the capitol building, the legislators decided that it was not worth the hassle to head to Fillmore every year (which was even smaller and less populated then, plus fewer fast food restaurants) and they switched the capital to Great Salt Lake City (which made good use of the occasion to officially chop the “Great” off the name of the city – the lake is still Great.)

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Ron and Luke in the basement. It's not very far below ground level for a basement, but whatever. I like the pioneer pictures covering the walls.

Being so pragmatic, the pioneer people put the abandoned capitol to good use. They used the building for offices and as a theater/dance hall. It was even used as a jail for a while (which seems appropriate given my opinions of politicians.) Both Mormons and Presbyterians used it as schools. When Johnston’s Army was approaching Utah in 1857 and all heck broke loose as the Mormons thought they were about to be exterminated, Brigham Young had everyone living in Salt Lake City flee south of Provo (again, they were pretty freaked out.) The Deseret News relocated to the basement of the capitol in Fillmore during this time, probably rightly assuming that Johnston’s Army would probably not even notice Fillmore existed.

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Here's the first floor hallway. There's some really cool pioneer quilts in some of those rooms. That's worth the $2 entry fee right there.

Since then it has kind of become a dumping ground for historical “stuff” from around the region. Most of the rooms in the basement have different kinds of small town style museum displays (be ready to pony up $2 to get in, if you go visit, BTW.) The first few were all related to the capitol itself, but there was a room dedicated to guns (it was something like this, “Pioneers had guns. They used guns to shoot things. Sometimes food. Sometimes Indians.” I’m not kidding, that’s what it was really like.) About that time I stopped paying as much attention if the subject of the room was not related to Fillmore specifically (I’ve been to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum – I’ve seen enough pioneer junk to last me a lifetime.)

A picture I found out on the Interwebs that shows what the second floor is like when not being used for a weding reception

The first floor has more small rooms with pioneer style bedrooms and assorted other historic bric-a-brac, but its halls are plastered which makes it look slightly more upscale than the rock walled basement. The top floor is where the legislature actually met (for a whole two and one half years.) Compared to the capitol building in Salt Lake, it’s a pretty boring room. No gold inlay. No really cool wood work. There are some chairs though! Governor Huntsman made one of his State of the State addresses here during the modernization of the capitol building (I think he did one at a school too – weird, I’d probably make the press come to my house so I could do it in my pajamas and go back to bed.) Actually, we didn’t get to see the chairs – they were setting up for wedding reception that night. Anybody getting married soon? I know a great reception hall about three hours south of Salt Lake! They had brownies!

Utah Territorial Statehouse

Pink and yellow? What happened, did the bride let the groom randomly select their wedding colors from a hat?


October 19, 2008 Posted by | Flickr Update, Oh no! History!, Ron's Posts | , , , , | 4 Comments

Hoodies

One of the fringe benefits of being a teacher is free/cheap apparel.  It may seem funny – it’s not like public schools are in the business of advertising (*weasely used car salesman voice* “Come on down, we’re having a special, two classes for the price of one while supplies last!”) but it seems like Husky apparel (the dog, not the size) has taken over my closet. At my school, they buy us one shirt every year and I’ve bought many of the t-shirts that the student government has sold (that’s their main revenue flow.)

Since I started being the student government advisor, the shirts are even more common since the student government gets hoodies and t-shirts each year (hence, I get one as well.) I like both of them that we’ve done so far (the idea they have for this year’s design is really good too.) The black one is incredibly tight around the neck, and to be honest I prefer the grey one (it just looks, “classier” or something) so I wear that one more often. But neither of my school hoodies can compare to the sheer coolness of this one.

"TK-421, why aren't you at your post?"

Come on, you’ve got to admit this is cool. The first thing that comes to my mind is the Star Wars quote, “I can’t see a thing in this helmet!” I suppose it’s not required to have the hood over your face all the time – perhaps you can get away with only having the full hood over your face during nerd related activities – video gaming, dice rolling (for role-playing games, not craps), and while pretending your car is heading down the Death Star trench instead of just boring, old I-15.

If you get pulled over, just remind the officer that, “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them!” and then tell him you were trying to, “Reach out with your feelings.” I’ve already tried the “You don’t need to see my identification,” one and it didn’t go over to well. There’s some more designs here, check them out!

This blog post was brought to you by the letter M, the number 8, and Gizmodo. Actually, it was mostly from Gizomodo, but I thought I could put my own spin on it. Sue me if you want to Gizmodo!

October 5, 2008 Posted by | From the Frontlines of the Education of America, Nerd Lore, Ron's Posts | , , , | 3 Comments

Glamour Shots

Have you ever had one of those experiences when you just feel the need to pose?  Come on, tell the truth.  It’s not a daily occurrence or anything, but every once in a while, something just screams, “Hey, Ron, come pose in front of me and have someone take your picture!”  I’m not sure when this semi-odd action (at least compared to some of the other things I do) started, but I think I can trace it back to when Brenda’s dad was in the hospital.

No, I’m not blaming it on a traumatic experience, it just so happens that the hospital waiting room was the first place I saw the film (and I use that term loosely) Napoleon Dynamite.  I freely admit to hating it when I saw it.  I just didn’t get it.  There is so very little redeeming about that movie.  It’s pretty much hanging around town (in Idaho nonetheless!) with a bunch of weird people you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time with.

Something’s changed since then.  Maybe it was the kids at junior high.  I had started teaching just a few months before the hospital experience, just in time to get hit with a wave of confusing quotes as Napoleon was enjoying it’s impressively selling DVD.  Maybe it was the girl who got in trouble for getting on the announcements one day (this was before I was in charge of the announcements) and using the words “frickin'” and “Oh my gawsh!” two times per sentence.  Maybe the charm of the moon boots caught up with me.  Maybe it’s the everyman tale that brings out the best in all of us.*  Maybe it’s the catchy credits at the beginning of the movie with writing on plates with ketchup (or catsup if you prefer) and and various other condiments.  Most likely, it’s because  I gave the movie a second chance and found it oddly hilarious the second time around.

I still can’t explain it, but I now love it.  I purchased my own copy (Like, the best special edition, ever! with bonus features that show you just how boring film making in the Gem State can be!) and have watched it many times.  If I remember right, I left the DVD in the computer for about a month and would, at certain times, flip it on just to watch a few minutes of it.

Anyway, this was the long way of getting around to this, but I had an experience like that a few weeks ago.  I wandered into the Moffett’s house looking for Luke, and guess what I found in the living room?  Artistically rendered background paintings. Guess what I ended up doing?  Right, posing for glamor shots.  I hope you enjoy them!**

Glamour Shots

Glamour Shots (3)

*Probably not.

**Also, probably not.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , | 4 Comments