Sunday, August 15, 2010

Terra Nova

We kicked off Explorers Week yesterday with the photograph of Robert Scott. The picture was was taken on the British Antarctic Expedition which ran from 1910 to 1913. Today, we show another picture from that expedition. It shows their ship, the Terra Nova, stuck in the ice near Antarctica. The picture was taken sometime in 1910 or 1911. This expedition was the second to reach the South Pole. Five members of the expedition lost their lives. I find it interesting that the photograph almost looks like an artists drawing. It almost looks too dramatic to be real, but yes, it is a real photograph.

Domestic Update:
Well, we had some great fun yesterday with the Mystery Contest, notwithstanding the Evil Interloper who launched a competing contest, with several of you being sucked in. Note that I do not blame you. There are very powerful forces at play here, and I understand how you could get sucked in. All is forgiven.

Today is the last day of my summer break, and I feel like I have had a very productive summer. I completed the construction of the greenhouse, and now there are just a few finishing touches that hopefully will get done in the next week, if the plumbers and electrician decide to show up. Also, I made lots of progress on the landscaping around the house. As I have mentioned, we built our house on very rough terrain . . . lots of rocks, cactus, brush, and mesquite. Little by little this summer, we cleared the circle in front of the house where I can mow it now. Once you can mow an area, it starts killing the weeds, and the buffalo grass takes over. Also, in the back, we were able to clear the area almost half way to the fence. Of course, it would have been much easier with a tractor, but perhaps the excellent progress that was made with nothing but a grubbing hoe and a wheel barrow will help build the case for a tractor.

I have to say that I am really looking forward to school starting. They have me teaching some new classes, and they should be interesting. Last year many of the students indicated to the administration that they did not feel that they were being properly prepared for college. Perhaps because of some of the horror stories coming back to them from first year college friends. In response to their concerns, the school asked me to come up with a College Preparation class. In the class I will be teaching basic skills that many kids don't have these days . . . How to keep an organized notebook, how to take notes, how to study for exams, how to be effective in scholarship applications, time management, and other organizational skills. Last year, the students actually helped prepare the syllabus for the class. This class will also cover ACT/SAT preparation, where we will do lots of work in improving standardized test scores. The students are excited about the class, because it was their idea.

I will still be teaching Business Computing, Algebra II, and WEB design. In addition, they will be expanding the engineering classes from 4 to 6. Presently, they have me teaching Fundamentals of Wind Turbine Technology, Pneumatics, DC Circuit Design, and AC Circuit Design. They will expand this to include Semiconductor Physics and Digital Circuits. The engineering classes build on each other, so I am not teaching them all at the same time. Some are taught in the first semester, and some in the second semester. If the students go to a junior college, these classes will count for college credit. If they go to a 4-year university, they will not count for college credit, but if they go into engineering, they will go in having seen the material before, and will have the math background needed to succeed in the university classes.

So, it has been a fun and productive summer, and I pretty much met all my goals for the summer. Now I am gearing up for school, and hope it turns out to be a productive and rewarding year.


  1. The one goal you didn't get to is the bright green tractor with a loader and a mower on it. But then maybe for Christmas.

    Can you imagine being stuck on a sailing ship locked in the ice like that. What do they do for food and heat. A lot of wooden ships, even steel one have been crushed by being frozen in ice packs. But when you are in Antarctica there is no place to go when your ship is being crushed.

    I did Google Map your local, one thing I did notice is that there are a lot of estate owners like yourself that seem to have walls and gates around their compound. So putting up a fence (for what ever reason) is kind of keeping up with the Jones.

    I have really enjoyed this week of domestic updates, all the photos.
    Had a lot of laughs with your war with The Evil Nate Maas.
    Had a lot of laugh with your encounter with the Z lift.
    Your Blog is the high lite of my morning. I can't really start work until I have read your new posts.
    Keep up the excellent work.

  2. Roger,
    Thanks for the kind words, and we appreciate your comments, always.

  3. Wow! I do hope they are paying you three teachers' salaries as it sounds as if you are doing three teachers' class schedules.

  4. Can you imagine what those men in the photo on the ship were thinking? Well maybe my wife (kids) will at least know what happened to me if they find this photo? I think that would be a horrible experience to be stuck like that. PJM - your college prep classes are an excellent idea. Both my boys graduated from a small Wyoming HS and such a small school does not have the resources to offer courses like this. It was huge adjustment for them when they started college. Both successfully graduated with a B.A. and the younger son successfully completed law school. So even you are behind, you CAN do it.

  5. I am surprised they still have the sails unfurled on the ship. I would think that would cause some problems if a blizzard came whipping in.

    As a college instructor, I wish more schools offered the kind of prep course you're developing. Maybe you could include something about how to communicate with professors--such as not starting your email with "Hey," and avoiding phrases like "the most worst grade I ever got" (especially when addressing a language instructor!)

    Sounds like you're set for a pretty intense year. Have fun!

  6. I'm loving the direction Explorers' week has taken so far; I have a deep love of polar (both Arctic and Antarctic) expeditions.

    I had the pleasure of being at Port Lockroy on New Year's Day in '07. For those of you who might share some of that same interest in the Antarctic, I suggest you see what is going on currently with the British:

  7. Great photo, it would make a beautiful painting.

    I wish I had had access to those classes when I went off to college. I made it just fine but in retrospect I could have done a lot more had I had more of those skills. Thanks for prepping the future leaders.

    I'm a pastry chef at at local university and I start back at 4am on Tuesday. I can't say I am looking forward to it. I'll feel differently in a week or two, but right now......


  8. thanks for taking time out of your busy summer for the great pictures. i just got back from vacation and the first thing i did was check out some of my favorite websites and as always it helps me get back in my routine. have a great school year and keep us posted on how your students and greenhouse are coming along, thanks.

  9. what kinde nam is dat nam atrocrabpuff. is dat de he name o is dat de she name. I tink eberbody gettin dat name now. I sees dis nam ober at dat utter boys page. same name, what talkin about dem ships an all

  10. The sails have wind in them because the ship was moving slowly through pack ice, which is why someone could disembark to take a photo. The ship had both sail and engine power and was in use until 1943. Quite a workhorse. Read more here:

  11. Mr. PJM, congratulations! on getting the greenhouse built. I'm proud of you, and have enjoyed the domestic updates.

    Being one of the first to encourage that you build it yourself, I knew you could. Now I'm dumbfounded by the amount of work you have ahead in the school year, and wish you all the best. But I'm sure you can do that, too.

  12. Engineering classes in High School? Wow, things have changed. My son would love it. I'm teaching history and English at a very small school in Bangalore, and I've pointed my history students to this blog. I think the photos and commentary help them get an idea of life in other times and places.

  13. Astrocrabpuff be a me name. Sometimes I be an Astrocrabpuff here, sometimes I be an Astrocrabpuff there.

  14. cannot leave it at 13 have a great day.


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