Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Here's something you wouldn't find in a Texas Target

An isle of electric snow blowers and snow shovels of various sizes and shapes.

- sent from my treo -

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Real Snow!

Ok, so I know these videos aren't the greatest, but it's from my phone and it's what i got. :-P But you can see what Friday morning looked like from the D200 wing of the school ... ;-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Update with videos and pictures

Here's a short tid bit of my bike ride to school. I found out towards the end that I should try to avoid or go slowly through large puddles of water - fenders only help so much. ;-)

It actually snowed a little today! Not sure if you can actually see it, but it was clearly visible. I noticed it between classes, so I pulled out my phone to see if I could get a short clip of it. It's supposed to snow tomorrow. We'll see!

Joce has been studying hard and is looking forward to Christmas break, so she can have some time to relax. In the meantime, though, she's staying warm and learning stuff.

Tobias has found a way to keep warm and cozy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So I've gotten several questions about one previous blog post and have written a couple of replies. If there are any others that are confused by my comments, hopefully this will clarify things.

Here is my previous post from November 5th:

How freaking inspiring is this? The whole world is rejoicing!! For the first time in my life, I'm actually proud to be an American!

Here's my explanation:

All I’m saying is that personally, for the first time, I’m proud. I’m seeing the diversity of the U.S. coming together as one, being united, even with our different views and opinions. I’m seeing people that may disagree with one another on several things come together and have a mutual understanding that both opinions matter – not that the other person is completely wrong. I’m seeing true citizenship – being a part of our community, our society – and within that, being individuals, not the other way around. It seems like for too long we’ve been a collection of individuals living amongst each other, separate and not overall concerned with our neighbor’s well-being. I don’t remember the country coming together as a whole this much in my lifetime (as short as that has been). Shouldn't our country be similar to the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)? Shouldn't we be living similar to the first church (Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37)? Didn't we learn anything from the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37)? To me, it seems like we’re being reborn as a country. The worldwide opinion of the U.S. has already been elevated. We’re getting the respect that we’ve been trying to demand by force.

As a kid, sure, I sang “I’m proud to be an American,” but I had no idea what that meant. I did it ‘cause I was told to do it. As I started thinking for myself and learning about the history of the United States and what our forefathers did, personally I wasn’t too proud. Don’t get me wrong, the founding fathers of this country did a lot of great things, but how they got there and how they trampled on groups of people didn’t make me proud (i.e. Native Americans, Africans, etc…). It seemed that this country was created on the belief that we’re better than everyone else – that we’re superior. I just can’t accept that. I know it’s written that “all men are created equal,” but if you look at the culture of the U.S., it’s just not there. It seems we read that as “all [American] men are created equal” – and sometimes not even that. If we truly believe that all men are created equal, then my life is worth just as much as a member of Al Qaeda, even if they have an extremely skewed view on the world. Someone being held at GITMO has as just as much worth as I do. That’s kinda a tough nut to swallow and something I had to overcome if I wanted to believe that we were all created equal. Also, when dealing with other countries and cultures, we don’t see them from their point of view, but only from ours. If somebody doesn’t have the same beliefs as we do, we just write them off. It seems like there’s not much mutual understanding or finding common ground. We’re the almighty America and we always have the last say. Now, I know this isn’t always true, but it’s one thing I noticed that really got under my skin as a kid and it’s stuck with me. I’m starting to see that change and it's starting to make me proud.

And I’m not trying to sell anyone short or say I’m not proud of what our armed forces have done in the past. Back during WWII it was different. We, as a country – united – went to war. There were sacrifices that were made. Everyone pitched in. Today it seems like greed has taken hold. We’re completely disconnected from anything going on in Iraq or Afghanistan. We’re still living normal lives here and just picking up news stories every so often about what is happening “over there.” We’re more concerned with how I can get ahead instead of how we, as a country – as the world, can get ahead. We’re missing that unity that seems like it was so prevalent back then. To me, it seems like we’ve taken a big step in re-becoming what has been fought for – a unified country, by the people and for the people, that the world can look up to and have respect for – and that’s something to be proud of. “ nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I've also received an email saying that the U.S. is a nation of "thankless people" that need to look at the positives and not dwell on the negatives. Here is my response to that:

I don’t want to downplay what we do have and the great things that are going on here. Don't get me wrong, I’m glad I live here. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be critical of some parts of it or want improvement. If no one ever called out the injustices or was ever unhappy with the country and wanted change, we’d still have slavery and women wouldn’t have a vote. I’m thankful every day for what I’ve been blessed with. But that’s a totally different thing than being proud of one’s country. I love our country (read - the people of this country) but I want to stay as far away from idolizing our country as possible - (Exodus 20:4-6, Matthew 22:37-40). Theodore Roosevelt said, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” I’d extend that to the country as a whole. When things are unjust, they should be called out. When things go well, they should be celebrated. Right now I think we have something to celebrate and most of the world is celebrating with us.

Here are two great quotes that I found that sum it up well:

"The peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country -- when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’” – Carl Schurz, 13th US Secretary of the Interior

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” – James Baldwin

After reading through this (and spending more than several hours collecting my thoughts), I think I realize where the disconnect is. I've always been proud of the concept or idea of this country (something I think most of us would agree with), but I haven't been proud of the country itself and what we've actually done (or failed to do). I'm finally seeing, now, our actions meeting up with our words. Our faith matching up with our deeds, if you will. Let's all hope that President-Elect Obama will live up to his expectations and be able to follow through with what he says he will do. I will be among the first to criticize him for something I think he is doing wrong and among the first to celebrate any of his great accomplishments. Hopefully this sheds a little bit of light on why I do feel proud to be an American for the first time in my life.

As long as faith, hope, and love remain, and faith is accompanied by action, all will be well. One of my favorite songs on the radio now is Hope Now by Addison Road, which says:

Everything rides on hope now.
Everything rides on faith somehow.
When the world has broken me down,
Your love sets me free.

-jason ... (c:

Now, that's more like it!

So I just went to the gas station, which had gas for $1.77/gallon, and was able to fill up the Prius ( it had one tick left on the gas meter) for $15 total!! Now, that's more like it! ... (c:

- sent from my treo -

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dog Cookies

I had time yesterday to clean up the place and thought I'd play the entire house-husband role, so I made some dog cookies. I ordered the cookie dough from a student fundraiser and got it on Friday. Piper's got her "P" cookies and Roxy has her "R" cookies. Now, they're not really cat-eaters, but I figured it fit, so I made each one of them a cat-shaped cookie also. They love the cookies! Piper eats hers up in like a second.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unity - from 52 to 48 with love

This was a really cool site I saw on another blog. It's personal messages from those who voted with 52% of the country to those who voted with 48% of the country and vise-versa. This is what inspires me - how, despite our differences, we can come together as one nation.

There are 5 pages total, so here are the 5 links:

page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sneaking around at the NJEA convention

So I'm here for the 2nd day of the NJEA teachers convention here in Atlantic City, and they're not letting us up on the 3rd and 4th floors yet, so I'm sneaking around the staircase with some other rebel teachers instead of waiting in the super-long line for the escalator.

I went to one class yesterday about gangs, and it was somewhat informational. I knew most of the stuff from my 2 years teaching @ Pearce. There was this super annoying guy that loudy and angerly attributed the rise in gang presence to removing prayer from schools. It's not the decline of a solid family presence, parents having to work long hours to be able to support their families, or the result of our American popular culture. It's only because they took prayer out of schools. That's like saying because someone dropped a pencil nearby, I tripped over my shoelace - if they didn't drop that pencil, then I wouldn't have tripped. There's no solid link that proves forcing kids to pray (or alienating those that choose not to) that helps keep the lure of gangs at bay. Anyways, I'll get off my soapbox.

Also, yesterday I was really looking forward to a class over podcasting. If you don't know what it is, don't worry about it. But they canceled it, so I spent time out "on the floor" of the convention. There was more free crap there than I've ever seen. I've got plenty of pens and post-it's so I didn't get much.

Well, here's an update on the day since I didn't get to finish this post before. The first workshop was great. It's a good thing I snuck up the staircase, it filled up fast. It was a workshop with practical, fun stuff to do in the mathematics classroom. After that was over, I went down to where my second workshop would be. The one I was really interested in was just next door and the third class I had planned for the day - creating an online learning community - about blogs and podcasts. Well, since the first class filled up so quickly, I was nervous about getting out of my 2nd class too late to be able to make it to the online community one, so I decided not to go to the second one. I went back downstairs to the convention floor in search for more free stuff and to eat. Afterwards, I went up to the room the online community workshop would be a little over an hour and a half early. I finished my beanie (which didn't turn out that great and looks like it's way too big). The class, though, was a bust. I was really disappointed. It didn't say who it was geared towards, but it was clearly geared towards the tech unsavvy. There were a couple of things the presenter said that I clearly knew were incorrect. It was really one person who just kinda figured things out on their own, but not completely understanding it all, teaching those that knew very little about technology in general. I was thinking afterwards, & I could have gotten just as much out of that class as I would have spending 5 minutes reading through a summary and taking down some websites.

So now, I'm exhausted and sitting on the hour long train ride home. I think I might take a nap. I just hope I wake up before my stop. Joce and I are just going to take it easy tonight and have some "us time." I'm looking forward to that.

-jason ...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


How freaking inspiring is this? The whole world is rejoicing!! For the first time in my life, I'm actually proud to be an American!

Yes, We Can! - Yes, We Did!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We're going to be using 100% Clean Energy!!

So I got our electric bill in the mail and noticed a little insert about being able to choose clean power and I like what it's saying. They have 3 options:

  1. Having 15% of our energy come from NJ Wind power
  2. Having 25% of our energy come from wind and hyrdo
  3. Having 100% of our energy come from half-wind, half-small hydro.
Well, knowing us, you could probably figure out which one we're going to choose. We'll be paying slightly more, but it'll come out to be something minimal like ~$10/month more. Even though money is tight with us right now, that's a small thing we can do to help out. And think if everyone was able to do that. How awesome would that be?

Here's what Green Mountain Energy has to say about it (from here):
Why choose renewable power?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the generation of electricity is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the U.S. Choosing this Green Mountain Energy® electricity product helps encourage the development of new renewable, pollution-free generation facilities in the region.

How does it work?
When you purchase the Green Mountain Energy® electricity product through the New Jersey CleanPower Choicesm program, Green Mountain matches your monthly electricity usage with clean energy generated from renewable sources. Your local utility will provide your regular electricity service and will continue to maintain the poles and wires that deliver the electricity to your house.

It's so easy
You will receive one convenient bill from your local electric utility company. There is no minimum term and no cancellation penalty.

Environmental impact
This product is 100% renewable and pollution free, generated by 50% regional wind and 50% regional small hydro.

Same reliable service
When you choose Green Mountain Energy electricity you will still get the same reliable service you have now. Your local utility will continue to read your meter, provide billing, respond to power outages, and provide other services related to the delivery of electricity. If you experience delivery problems (for example, if your lights go out), please contact your local utility. You can find contact information for them on our Contact page

So how cool is that? So what small thing can you do to help out our environment and give our children and children's children a world that we're proud of?

-jason ... (c:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Spoke Cards

Check out what I got in the mail today! Aren't they pretty?