Friday, March 28, 2008

A Volcano ate my car.

Mount Hood is a volcano, and for the second year in a row, I got into a fender bender in Government Camp on Mt. Hood. Two cars were waiting ahead of me at a stop. On a hill. On ice. The lead car goes, the middle car moves up, and so do I. The middle car stops. I put on the break, but I keep moving. I stand on the break. All wheel drive, anti-lock breaks. I keep sliding forward. I lean on the horn. The car ahead doesn't move. BAM!
His Audi: One taillight rattling loose, trim pushed into trunk, black bumper all scratched up.
My Toyota: License plate bent.
Punch line: other driver's name was Elvis.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vote for A Swift, Sharp, Shark

A Web Pole for best story has been added to the bottom of the page with A Swift, Sharp, Shark on it. Scroll down to vote.
To see the rest of the magazine, go to Golden Visions.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Roller Derby! Rose City Rollers vs. Emerald City Roller Girls

On a whim (I got an announcement on MySpace from Guns & Rollers), we went off to see the Roller Derby in Portland Saturday night. We ended up sitting in the Eugene section, so we had to root for the Emerald City Roller Girls (ECRG). It was fast, fun, and loud. I saw a lot of fans wearing earplugs.

Halftime included full contact wheelchair rugby.

Unfortunately for our cheering section, the girls in green didn't win, but a good time was had by all. And I walked a way with a handsome ECRG T-Shirt.

My flickr pictures:

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Swift, Sharp, Shark

A Swift, Sharp, Shark has been published by Golden Visions Magazine. It's in the April edition, and you can find it under the Unusual Tales: For older readers section. My first fiction sale!
If you saw Babel, I had the twisted Japanese girl's image in my head when I wrote Mako/Mishiko. I'm hoping one sale will spawn many more.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Education: Biggest Long Term Threat To America?

If you've ever worked in a real successful company, you know that great success can hide a good many weaknesses. When I worked at Microsoft, it wasn't that the company was perfect or did things in a way that made sense all the time, it was the company could afford errors. A little disfunctionalism would not slay the giant.

The same thing can be true for countries. A sub-standard educational system couldn't slay the giant last century, but I'm no so sure about this one. Obama just gave his race speech, and in it, he talked about unequal opportunities to get an education. Corporate leaders regularly gripe about how hard it is to find enough well educated workers. Students spend time jumping from concept to concept without understanding the basics.

The US has a good college and a great community college system. Yet we can't teach high school students how to find China on a map, write at a 10th grade level, or do basic algebra.

It's a complex issue with many solutions, but I believe we ignore our biggest weakness, or don't want to talk about it. Local control and local funding. Failures to teach basic math, language, and cultural literacy are a roadblock to success for the entire country. Funding and developing curriculum state by state, county by county, and even town by town is absurd.

Every student should have an equal opportunity to be challenged, develop critical thinking skills, and achieve a base level of understanding of math, science, language, and culture.

Of course, that would challenge those who profit by ignorance. Those who peddle anti-science, anti-history, and all other anti-knowledge agendas are entrenched in our power structure. Of course, all of those agendas weaken our country, and it's about time we did away with them.

That's my argument. Nationalize the schools.