Archive for January, 2008

Outhouse Fudge

Posted in funny signs with tags , , on January 30, 2008 by roxteacher

dscn3352.jpg Ok, seriously. Who names a gift shop the Outhouse? They do in Pennsylvania Dutch “country” or Lancaster County, PA. And who then sells Outhouse Fudge? Seriously.


It’s a Shore Thing

Posted in family with tags , on January 29, 2008 by roxteacher

Anyone else inexplicably drawn to the ocean (or as we say in this part of the country, the shore)? Ever since I was a little kid, we’d spend about 2 weeks each summer at the Jersey shore (Ocean City). The memories are indelible. Surf fishing with my Dad, building sand castles, riding our bikes on the boardwalk, and rough and tumble body surfing filled our days. When my kids came along, we continued the tradition. By getting there on some weekends we can say we spend almost one month a year at the beach. The drive is 145 miles and takes about 3.5 hours. Just far enough away from home to make it feel special, but not so far that we feel as if we spend half our vacation getting there. Photos of the new place (2008) are here.

Shining Star

Posted in family with tags on January 29, 2008 by roxteacher

I write this as my 15 yo daughter works on her painting for art class. It is nearly midnight. dscn2994.jpgShe leaves for dance nearly everyday after school and returns home around 10 pm. After a quick dinner, she begins what can be 2 hours of homework. The deal is that I “keep her company.” Her commitment to her craft (dance) is admirable. She has no patience for classmates who complain about being able to get work done when once or twice a week they have an evening sporting event. Somehow she manages to be in the top 3% of her class. For a year and a half she had her own dog biscuit business. It was doing quite well, but she could not juggle school and dance and a business at the same time so one had to go. I really do admire her and not many parents can say that about their kids!

Fabric of the Cosmos

Posted in Physics, science, Scotland with tags , , on January 28, 2008 by roxteacher

On the flight home from Scotland (to see universities with son) Dan had me start Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos.” It got me thinking that my whole science department should read it. It looks back at the thinking that went into space-time theory and then looks forward to the development of string theory. We needed to be more scholarly I thought. We need to have one shared experience. Six of the eight agreed to read the book and discuss it in “book club” format. Tomorrow we meet off campus (so we may have adult beverages) to discuss the first two chapters. I am intrigued by how much I keep coming across Scottish physicists like James Clerk Maxwell and Lord Kelvin. The connections are wonderful given Dan’s interest in physics and going to university in Scotland.

I am the Sandman, goo goo g’joob

Posted in sand, Scotland with tags , on January 28, 2008 by roxteacher

Now I know that this sounds strange but I actually have a sand collection. In my dscn0850.jpg oceanography unit I have the students conduct a week-long sand lab. They determine settling velocity, grain size, degree of roundness, composition, and other physical characteristics like luster and color. They then compare their findings to the description of 8 known samples and match their unknowns to the descriptions. Over the years as my students take trips to the Caribbean and afar, I have them bring back some sand. Even after they graduate, students have sent sand from Russia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malta, and the Gobi Desert. I now have over 100 samples from around the world. When I travel I do the same. Sand from Dornoch, Scotland was my last acquisition. You too can contribute. Any size donation is great. The students are amazed (yes, really) at the differences. After all they think that sand is sand is sand. After seeing Bermuda’s sands and Hawaii’s sands and Uruguay’s sands they realize the vast differences in something so small.

More signs . . .

Posted in funny signs with tags , on January 28, 2008 by roxteacher

phallicgavel1.jpgHonest. This one was a local campaign sign. I know that he was going for a gavel, but did anyone look at this before it went to the printer?

Coffee Talk

Posted in Coffee with tags , , on January 28, 2008 by roxteacher

Have to mention how much I look forward to Saturdays. After teaching 16-18 year old Take Five Expresso Barstudents I am ready for a bit more adult conversation. My lovely wife owns and operates a small espresso bar in town and I am her free help on Saturdays. I kid that I get no benefits, no pay, and no thanks; however I really enjoy the chat that goes with being there. She really does have a bar (with 6 stools) and people really do belly up to it, have a drink, and socialize. The number of regulars is astounding and there is always laughter and frivolity. My coffee fix is not just the caffeine, it is the place and the people and the fun.