Monday, May 31, 2010


Last year the family and I were in DC for the Memorial Day weekend. Below are some of the photos I took at the Vietnam Memorial and along the Mall. Feel free to share these as you remember today the service of those who died.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday morning at the Durham Farmers' Market

These photos were taken this morning at the DFM. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Life: an update

It's been a crazy few weeks. I had a great time in DC at the TOPSS/APA meeting but then learned that J's dad was hit by a car and suffered multiple broken bones and more. J then somehow managed to balance taking care of her parents' needs, their animals, our girls, our house and --oh yeah, her grad school classes -- while I basically went AWOL finishing up my national board portfolio and submitting that on March 30 (a day early - hurrah). And my mom has been so great as the girls have been on their three-week intersession and she's been able to take them for so many days and really have them feel so loved.

Then J's dad was able to come home after two weeks of quality hospital time and we enjoyed a very eventful Easter with both sides of the family. This morning I finished the last part of the NBPTS with a test of six 30 minute essays that were, uh, interesting. I did learn that when someone that you trust and who got his certification last year says -- "Oh, don't worry about the tests, you'll know it" -- that probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

So today is day 5 of my spring break but it really feels like the first one. And to celebrate I am going to highlight some things that have happened, interjecting them with lyrics from Regina Spektor's last album Far. I listened to this album somewhere between 35-45 times over the past month and it was a great inspiration and motivation.

And I count all my blessings, I have friends in high places
And I'm upgraded daily, all my wires without traces

1) "Fair condition" is not what I thought it was.

There's a meat market down the street
The boys and girls watch each other eat

2) NCAA basketball was a wonderful distraction; when I thought I couldn't type another word, somehow watching Northern Iowa or the Baylor women got me back on track.

It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song
You can't believe it
You were always singing along

3) I am losing my edge. My evidence is that I have found it harder to hate Duke as the season has gone on this year. But come on, I'm not that crazy, they still suck.

I have no wallet, I have no wallet
I keep my cards together with a blue rubber band
And with a free hand I search in my pocket
For pieces of, pieces of paper and change

4) I don't have any ideas about how Durham Public Schools should cut $20 million, but I hope they will stop asking me to choose between stupid option A and stupid option B.

No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes

5) I'm really bummed about the NCSSM senior who died last week in a car accident. I didn't know her but I have seen her photos lately and have heard stories, and I think she must have been a terrific person. To her friends: I'm sorry for your loss.

So we made our own computer out of macaroni pieces
And it did our thinking while we lived our lives

6) I am really proud of my niece who changed her major to computer science this week. I'd like to think she got it from me but I'm afraid she left me behind long ago.

Everyone takes turns, now it's yours to play the part
And they're sitting all around you holding copies of your chart
And the misery inside their eyes is synchronized and reflecting it to yours

7) Affordable health care -- so that your life isn't ruined financially by an accident -- should be a basic right for everyone.

And I'm downloaded daily, I am part of a composite
Hooked into machine, hooked into machine

8) I had to have my palm scanned five separate times today. And surrender my ID. And have my photo taken. And have my every movement captured on video for three hours today. No, not national security -- just taking that silly test.

He stumbled into faith and thought,
This is all there is
The pictures in his mind arose
And began to breathe
And no one saw and no one heard
They just followed lead
The pictures in his mind awoke
And began to breed

9) One of the main components of National Board Certification is reflection. I had to write at least 8 pages of my portfolio as a reflection on my teaching, how students achieved, etc. I may never reflect again in my entire life.

I'll believe it all
There's nothing I won't understand
I'll believe it all
I won't let go of your hand

10) My wife is the best. Without her belief in me I'd be lost. I think she even surprised herself with the amazing balancing act she's done in the past month. I love you J!

Blue lips
Blue veins
Blue, the color of the planet from far, far away

11) (Who said I had to stop at 10?) I had the best time hiking along the Eno River this past weekend with my daughters. Despite grumpiness and complaining -- and that was just from me -- we had a great time. Pictures to come on Facebook. Thanks for reading. Here's to a wonderful rest of Spring!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Durham BOE director injured in hit-and-run

UPDATE: The police are now reporting that this was not a hit-and-run. (They were happy to report this to BCR and to WRAL, but not to me.)

Wow, I'm gone out of town for a weekend, all hell (relatively speaking) breaks loose and no one bothers to report it?

This past Friday my father-in-law Mike Ashe, director of the Durham County Board of Elections, was running just before noon in the vicinity of Buchanan Boulevard near Duke's East Campus when he was struck by a car. I don't know the exact details of the collision except that the driver sped away. Police and EMS responded quickly and he was taken to Duke's ER where he was treated for a number of broken bones, skin abrasions and lots of pain. As I write this on Sunday night he's still in the hospital and doing about as well as can be expected.

But no one in the entire Durham news media caught a whiff of this? Now you have. C'mon, Kevin @ Bull City Rising, pick this up and run with it (pardon the pun) for your exclusive.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eugene Brown - embarrassing!

I spotted this story on today: "Durham councilman: officers' arrest embarrassing." And even before I clicked on the link I thought -- gotta be councilman Eugene Brown.

Why? 'Cause EB was born to make the grandiose finger-wagging pronouncement of blame. Need someone to call out someone else in Durham? Eugene should be #1 on your virtual Rolodex.
But then I started wondering why I was so confident it was Eugene, and then I remembered: I've seen this before! Only I didn't realize how often I had. With a little help from the Google elves and LexisNexis I found ...

  • "'This is ground zero in government failure,' City Councilman Eugene Brown said. 'It's really an embarrassment.'" (Durham keeps rolling with struggling development project -- WRAL, 10/5/09 and similar "embarrassing" comment two days later in the Independent Weekly)
  • "'[...] Duke did not make their case very well,' Brown said. 'They didn't make it very well at all, and it's embarrassing, and they know it.'" (Spat with city over private streets nears resolution -- Duke Chronicle, 4/15/09)
  • "Said Councilman Eugene Brown, 'I think it’s an embarrassment. How many times does it take for them to get things right?'” (Durham Housing Authority still troubled, Independent Weekly, 9/3/08)
  • "'This is just embarrassing,' Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown said Monday." (Reports: Wake, Durham probation offices 'in crisis' -- WRAL, 8/25/08)
  • "[...] Councilman Eugene Brown said Tuesday that the incident is 'embarrassing for the entire community.'" (Housing funds case unravels -- Herald-Sun, 5/25/08)
  • "As Councilmember Eugene Brown said last week, 'It was an embarrassing chapter in the life of Durham. It's time to put it behind us.'" (Bitter end of the city loan scandal -- Herald-Sun (via LexisNexis), 2/19/08)
  • "'It's really an embarrassment that we're going through this and that we have to do this process,' Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown said." (Durham PD Goes Under the Microscope for Lacrosse Case -- WRAL, 7/20/07)
  • "'Right now, we're in a reactive mode and not a proactive mode,' Councilman Eugene Brown said Friday. 'We've got to put this sucker out, and that's why we're talking to people like that group out of Virginia. The longer it goes on, the more embarrassing it is to the city.'" (Fire foam gets green light -- Herald-Sun (via LexisNexis), 9/23/06
  • "City Councilman Eugene Brown agreed. 'It's always problematic when you have those hired and paid for enforcing the law breaking the law,' he said. 'I want to withhold judgment, but so far, this is just embarrassing.'" (Two Durham officers charged with assault -- Herald-Sun, 7/28/06)
  • "'That search was a primer on how not to hire a police chief,' Brown said. 'It was an embarrassment. We were the laughingstock for the state.'" (Durham police chief search set -- News & Observer, 7/18/06)
  • "'I hope, folks, that we have learned from this very embarrassing episode,' Councilman Eugene Brown said." (Council accepts Canal Street audit -- Herald-Sun (via LexisNexis), 10/5/04)

Let's say it together as Eugene would -- EMBARRASSING!