Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Summer Vacation

I keep talking to my students about this awesome video that I shot on my vacation to Disney World this summer. Laura and I went to this "escape from reality" for seven days in August. We visited every park that Disney has to offer (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and both water parks, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon). It was a busy and exciting trip. Here is one of the best rides that we went on. It is called Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. After riding it the first time I wanted badly to go on again and tape the experience. Here it is:

Yes, that was me screaming...

My Hero

I have been promising my students that I would post the picture of me with my hero John Muir.Actually, this is not the real John Muir. This is Lee Stetson, an actor who portrays John Muir. He can often be found in Yosemite giving presentations as the great John Muir. We went to his show one evening during our spring break trip to my favorite place. He was telling some of Muir's famous stories at the Yosemite Lodge. This was my second time seeing him perform.

The real John Muir is my hero because of what he did for California's most beautiful places like Yosemite and the Giant Sequoias of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. He helped see to it that these areas would be protected. This led to the creation of the first State Parks in the United States.

John Muir also started the Sierra Club, which my parents have been members of for about 40 years. I too was a member in high school and enjoyed going on trips with my parents to see many of our state's most beautiful locations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

3rd Time is a Charm, Our Last Cancelled Day

Well, today was our last "day off" due to the Station Fire. This was a less eventful day. No more fires could be seen on the hillside thank goodness. The two pictures below are "before and after" shots of the hillside above school. In the first photo, which I posted two days ago, you can see the lush green hills as the fire was approaching from the other side. In the second photo, taken today, you can see that the hills have been turned completely gray. Hardly a plant was left standing. It is a bit hard to tell from these small images but if you click on them you can see it a bit better.
We are all very lucky to still have our houses and our school to return to. Others in this fire have been less fortunate. I think we are all excited to be returning to school and a bit of normal life.

Just for fun I have added a time lapse video that Laura and I made from our backyard. The news kept showing time lapse videos so I wanted to see if I could get some press with mine. So far I don't think it has been shown on any news stations but it has had a lot of views on Youtube. Check it out:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 2 Still Cancelled

Day two of school was another uneventful day... at the school site that is. Again, school was cancelled due to horrible air conditions, not to mention the fact that part of the hillside was still on fire, and many students were still evacuated from their homes. Laura and I decided to go down to school to check things out. You could still see smoke high in the hills above school.

Oh…we also learned how to order pizza when you are evacuated. The trick is that the pizza guy cannot get past the police and if you leave the evacuation area in your car, you cannot return.
In this picture you can see the pizza guy on the right. He pulled up and we thought, “Oh no! How will he deliver this pizza?” Well, just then, the guy who was in the black car in the middle (just to the right of the police car), honked his horn to get the attention of the pizza guy. That’s right, he drove his car right down to the police security line and waited for the pizza guy to bring his pizza to the intersection. I tell ya, that is creativity.
For more entertainment and clean air, Laura and I headed back down to Glendale today. This time we went to my favorite burger joint The Habit. Oh my goodness it is so good. I love the BBQ Bacon Char Burger…Yummy!!!
Also while we were out I picked up one of these babies. Now I am ready for the real "Day 1" whenever that may be…

Valley View at Night, a Spectacular Sight

Last night the hills behind Valley View were ablaze. This picture was taken at about 11:00 pm across the corner from Valley View. This was supposed to be the first official day of the school year but as you can see that did not happen. All of the fires in the background are actually control fires set by fire fighters. Check out this video for my first hand account of the evening: