Saturday, February 28, 2015

art hike II

 today i went hiking with this merry band of hoodlums.  a few of the hardcore hikers from the first art hike returned and we had some new hikers too.  even sean and katertot made the trek to join us.

 i was hoping we might see some leftover snow or ice but i was not prepared for the winter wonderland hike.  it was awesome.

 cessquatch, sean of the dead and katertot were reunited.  cessquatch was happy to have snow too since her dad sorta short changed us out of snow a couple of days ago.

 we lost katertot for a while.  sean and cessquatch looked everywhere for her.

 when i got my first view of rainbow falls i was immediately pelted by snowballs.

 lindsay and tripp posed in front of a frozen fall.  i think this was tripp's first hike ever.

 the 100 foot waterfall is awe inspiring any time of year but it was especially great today.  

 we had a real life photographer with us who kept risking his life to get a great shot.

 if you look about halfway up with a magnifying glass, you'll see james taking great, risky photos.

 at the foot of the falls giant spikes of ice kept falling.

 didnt seem to bother james, though.  

 or lindsay

 did i mention it was very cold today?  very cold.  and the wind blew the icy mist all over everything.  it was great.

 really great.

 i insisted on making a snowman since i havent been able to play in any snow this year.  kristen (dread) helped give him a face.

 we have such a great group of students.  i mean, seriously, what student wants to walk several miles uphill on a saturday with a teacher who tortures them all week?

 each time i tried to get a good river photo, i got ambushed by snowballs.  i caught one with my face but i'm pretty sure i bruised someone's hip.

 tripp found groot standing on his head.

 everyone lived and we only had one free bleeder.

 the bathrooms were heated so everyone gravitated there.  from left that's sean, katertot, cessquatch, tripp, lindsay, armir, james, taylor, queen elizabeth the 5th, dread & chelsea.

great people.  great hike.  lander visual art is the best.

Monday, February 16, 2015

lent 2015

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau

“Life is…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  -Shakespeare

We’re in the future now.  It’s 2015, and we’re supposed to be living on the moon, riding hover-boards and wearing clothes made of shiny silver.  Technology has promised us so much progress.  Seriously though, cars are driving themselves, robots work for us and if you want to appear more-well read than you really are, you can Google quotes from famous authors in 30 seconds.

But if technology has made life easier, faster and more wonderful then why are we so busy?  Think about it, how busy are you now compared to last year?  Last week?  This semester has seemed so busy but when I sat down recently to try to figure out what extra duties were weighing me down and I couldn’t find them.  And then I got a text and forgot what I was trying to think about. 

I think it’s the phone.  Why do I feel so busy all the time?  Because a text message demands immediate attention while I’m sending an email and trying to figure out how to add an event to my calendar.  Then there’s a long Twitter feed that hasn’t been checked in an hour or so.  And there was that photo I was going to put on Instagram.  Then there are 6 new emails.  It’s definitely the phone.

That phone.  I love my iphone.  It summarizes everything technology has delivered up to now.  That phone has replaced books, CDs, encyclopedias, and even my computer.  Anything I want to know at any time, that phone can bring it to me.  It can instantly connect me with current students and students I taught 13 years ago.

It can also prevent me from drawing in my sketchbook.  It can tune me out of a conversation I should be listening to.  It can keep me from noticing my kids are at the breakfast table each morning.  It can even keep me from smiling and making eye contact with strangers. 

Just like any other tool, it’s only as good as it’s user. 
I haven’t been a good phone owner.  Slowly but surely the phone has started making demands on my time.  Instead of making everything quicker and easier, it makes me feel like I have to hurry up and check for new information all the time.  It keeps me busy about nothing.

Whatever you happen to believe about why you were put on this planet, is your phone helping you do anything with lasting importance? 

Right.  Which brings us to Lent 2015.  I’m giving up most of my phone for 40 days.  OK, I’m going to try my best to give up most of my phone for 40 days.  Here’s how it’s going to work:

I can use my iphone for 15 minutes each day and not a minute more.  I can take attendance, text, email or look up the formula for the area of a triangle but when the 15 minutes is up, it’s done for the day.  And since the average human checks his phone 27 times each day, that’s likely going to free up a bit of time for me.  In that time I will draw, talk to my family and actually see the people and things around me.  Heck, I may even become more human. 

I want to see the difference between a life a slavery to an electronic device and a life fully observant and engaged in the things around me.  Once I see that difference I can consciously make a choice about which person I want to be.  Do I want to be the guy with his phone in his hand all the time or do I want to be the guy who listens and looks people in the eye?

I’ve been thinking about this for more than a year now and I know it will not be easy.  I’m not sure if it will be as difficult as not cursing, not lying or completing a drawing every day (see previous Lent entries), but it may very well be even more difficult. 

Wish me luck and I invite you to put down your phone and suffer with me if you dare. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

a few saturdays

The spring semester is underway.  Spring semester means I get a new crop of freshmen in my Foundations classes.  That means I get to learn new names and try to get into their minds to figure out how to challenge them and move them forward.  That process involves goofing around a bit so that they know I'm not trying to destroy them.  And apparently that also means that I get Snapchatted and find strange notes on my whiteboard.  (Being Snapchatted seems to involve students taking covert photos of me in class and then drawing on that photo or typing something sarcastic and then sending that image to all their friends.)

 Winter also means we can explore the woods without having to worry about people mistaking us for deer.  Blue and I headed out on the 4 wheeler a couple of Saturdays ago and found this great deer skull.

 The next Saturday we took a short waterfall hike.

 And yet another Saturday had us careening down a small, snowy mountain on an inner tube.  We went to Moonshine Mountain in Hendersonville for the first time.

 Blue had his photo made with the POTUS while we were there.

 I used to ski a lot but this was my first time tubing.  I was surprised by how fast those tubes slide down the hill.  Violet did it twice and it scared the pants off of her.

 It was a lot of fun but we were lucky we arrived when we did.  As our time ran out three tour buses of college students and four big vans full of people arrived to clog the place up.

 Blue is taking Tae Kwon Do with a bunch of kids his age.  During their first time ever doing freestyle sparring, he got to fight a girl.

 And yet another Saturday....last Saturday, we got yet another dog.  Why?  Well just look at him.

 Seriously, how could you go to a shelter and not take this guy home?  

...and the school construction continues.