Wednesday, June 30, 2010

30 Day Challenge Day - 18: Summer Travel Tips

So it's the last day of June and the summer travel season is in full swing. We all know what that can mean; crowded freeways, high gas prices and packed airport. However, there are ways to get around the non-sense and hassle of summer travel.

If you live in the GR area and are going to Chicago for the weekend, consider the alternative to driving: Amtrak! Yes, Amtrak runs a great service from GR right to the heart of the loop at central station. The trip lasts around four hours and if you plan and purchase ahead of time, can cost you as little as $25 each way sometimes.

If you must make the drive to Chicago, here are some tips and ideas to ease your stress level.
1. Gas is always more expensive in Chicago then in Western Michigan, so plan accordingly. Gas up before you enter the Chicagoland metro. If you must get petrol there, the closer into downtown you get the higher the prices. Try and fill up as far out as you can.
2. If you do drive, park your car your stay. Chicago has all kinds of amazing transit options, the EL, Metra train if you need to get to the suburbs, a huge bus system, endless miles of running and biking trails, and of course cabs galore. You could use the excercise of walking and we just mentioned the price of gas (plus traffic congestion). Also when you drive, see what you can do to drive at "off-peak" times. If you can drive into the city on Friday in the middle of the day you'd be better off than around the evening rush.
3. If you're flying out of Chicago (domestically) for any reason, do what you can to avoid O'hare. Try Midway instead, they are a hub for Southwest Airlines and it's far less crowded and scattered.

I'll have more as we go along. As always, buckle up and drive safe.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

30 Day Challenge Day - 17: Pressure on FIFA

I've got a lot on my mind today so I am going to keep this short.

A new article on Yahoo is showing that FIFA, one of the governing bodies of international soccer, is starting to change it's mind about instant replay.
With a whole multitude of major blown calls in this year's World Cup already, FIFA is taking a new stance on it's officiating system and replay. The calls in question have occured against a whole range of nations, so no real "bias" can be used as explanation. Increased international pressure is prompting the new outlook.

This is something I would like to see done in major league baseball in the face of recent issues, and issues with umpiring in past years.

Here's a link to the article:

Monday, June 28, 2010

30 Day Challenge Day - 16: Sunday FAIL and bad logistics at the IRS.

So yes, this really should be day 17, however some genious was out hotdoggin' around and forgot. FAIL. So I am going to do what FIFA has done lately and keep going as if nothing has happened right after I royally f*** something up. So let's all turn a blind eye to the fact that I accidentally missed a day.

Speaking of royally screwing up, I was at the IRS today to have questions on my Federal return answered. I ended up waiting 3 hours to be seen for what was a 12 minute interaction to solve my issue. I wasn't the only one either, the whole waiting room was full and people were stacked up like planes over Heathrow. I was utterly dumbfounded at the way in which they handle customer service logistics. Nothing is ordered in any way. Most places you take a number and it's in logical fashion so you know how far you are from being seen. Here they assign six or seven number sets, each set being assigned to separate problem types. They don't call them in order of numbers, nor in who had been waiting the longest. It's scattered, random and in no way efficient. The customer (or in this case tax-paying American citizen) has no way to tell where they are in the line. Luckily all twenty-something of us in the waiting room were taking it in stride and having fun. When someone's number got called we had fun with it and cheered them on. When someone left, we cheered. You would have thought it was beer garden with all the hubbub going on.

Sadly though this calm and collected, understanding atmosphere is a rarity. Ever been in O'hare during a weather delay? People are ready to commit felonies on the spot just to get on planes. The bottom line is that I had three hours to give the field office the benefit of the doubt. Three hours of analyzing how it just was the way it was and sadly that's it. I found nothing that could excuse the cluster of people waiting patiently in the face of virtual contempt for their time. The main culprit was that for the first two hours the office was severely understaffed. This is the IRS, and matters can get complicated. Out of 6 agent windows only two were being staffed mid-day on a Monday. I know people need lunch breaks but you need to find a way to stagger the breaks or simply hire more people. Next, there needs to be more agent windows period. I think the old office downtown had 10-12, this one basically half that number. Finally, the "take a number" system needs to be logically revamped. Somebody probably got paid a lot of money to make it far too complicated. My guess is that this is the system they have nation-wide at all the field offices.

Why am I whining you might ask? My questions were answered, weren't they?? The bottom line is that they can only get away with these shenanigans because they are the Federal government. They ARE the monopoly and we have no choice in this case. If a private business handles it's customer orders or service in this matter that business won't be around very long. That is one of the positives of the private sector. Sure those government IRS employees have great benefits and job security, but the person who has to take an afternoon off from work (maybe without pay) to deal with an issue suffers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

30 Day Challenge Day - 15: Bonfire

Hey Peoples,

I'm at a bonfire in Allendale. You should be too. It's summer in Pure Michigan so get out!!

Happy outdoor adventures!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

30-Day Challenge Day - 14: Youtube and the Vuvuzela...Clever!

So if you peruse Youtube frequently for whatever you use it for (music, movie clips, sports moments or whatnot), you may have passed it right over. Unless you're really looking, or have been made aware of it, it's very easy to miss. The application button is tiny and can be an afterthough after the pause/play and volume controls. IS there and it IS clever.

Yes, Youtube has added a small soccer ball to it's control panel. You know what that means!! Youtube has created a control where you can dub over the sound of whatever you're watching with the sound of the the legendary 2010 World Cup vuvuzela. BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....BBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...BBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Now some may think this is pointless and useless. I would agree to useless, however not quite pointless. That is, depending on how you're looking at the situation. This is a great, sly marketing move by Youtube. The issue has made national news so that right there is free marketing and advertising for Youtube. What was the first thing I did upon hearing of this?! Why go straight to and see this thing for myself. "It exists..." I exclaimed to myself upon discovery. So yes, I just HAD to get a few of my favorite music clips and hit that soccer ball icon; BBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. True, Metallica never sounded worse, but I got a kick out of it. In the end, this drives extra site traffic! Once I heard about it I had to find out for myself. So have (and will) millions more.

Gimicky? Sure. But sometimes it's the silly gimicks that work the best to get your name on people's lips and drive some traffic! Marketing 101 people, figure it out.

So now that you know, go give Youtube and Google some traffic. I mean, you're gonna anyway so no guilt!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

30-Day Challenge Day 13 - Inspirational Tunes

What kind of music inspires you? Is it mellow, edgy, slow, fast, deep and emotional? Does it soothe? Does it aggravate? Does it make you happy or mad? Does it plain out want to make you drink heavily? To each his/her own to match your own personality style. Inspirational rythms are very different for each individual.

I'm sharing with you a kind of tune that really gets me inspired and amped up. I like it because it is dramatic, intense, deep and to me conveys a sense of unstoppable will and creativity. It flows in sync with my spirit to say it better. It embodies the timeless quote of "Make no small plans, for they lack the power to stir the hearts of men."

Share a Youtube clip that has a tune that inspires you in whatever you do. Try to keep to relatively clean though peeps.

Muchas Gracias!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30-Day Challenge Day - 12: GOOAAALLLLL!!!

It was epic, it was gripping, and it definitly gave you a feeling in the pit of your stomach. For 91 minutes it was a stressful issue. Once again team USA was dealt an unfair blow from a referee on a bogus offsides call nullifying a goal in the early part of the game. Throughout the game flurry and flurry of near misses on shots from the US team gave one the encroaching feeling of dread. It was literally win or go home.

See, the US team had not been beaten in pool play, however they had two ties without any wins. In their previous game they completed a miracle comeback to tie the game 2-2 later. Moments later they seemingly took the lead in unimaginable fashion. Then it happened, a lame-duck call made incorrectly from an official took the game-winner away from the US squad and left a bitter, bitter taste in the mouths of sports fans across all 50 states. The team from the colonies was still alive to move on, but the margin would be tight.

As the clock in today's game reached the 90th minute, the officials held up a time board. They were adding four minutes of stoppage time. Four minutes of borrowed time and life for the states. It was now or never. However Algeria made a fantastic break toward the US goal and sniped a shot to the right side of the net. Tim Howard, the US netminder, struggled to corrale the laser-line shot, but he stopped it. With no hesitation he threw the ball forward to Donovan. With two teammates with him on his wings he quickly paced the ball down the field and set up a great opportunity.

Rais M'Bolhi, the Algerian netminder sprawled on the grass to stop the ball. He couldn't hold the rebound, which trickled out a good couple yards from his arms. A trailing Landon Donovan streaked in before the ball could be cleared from the crease and laid it into the back of the net. The US squad killed off the remaining couple minutes of extra time and at the 94' minute mark it was official; they would move on to the round of 16.

Three minutes from ultimate disaster and failure, a leader found a way to get it done and put his team on his back. I have always respected and understood soccer, and this is why. It can be a gripping and tense sport. Let's hope for a few more wins from that team from the colonies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

30-Day Challenge Day - 11: The four-letter network and the Association

That four letter network is in Bristol, CT and one of the most popular cable channels out there. That's right it's ESPN. The Association is the National Basketball Association to clarify that too. They've had a little obessesion with each other lately.

See, ESPN has been carrying the NBA for a while now so it makes sense that by talking about the games and players leads to their network getting attention and viewership. I went to school for advertising, I know how that works and appreciate that bills need to get paid so families can eat. However we now need to draw the line after this winter sports season.

That straw has been added to the donkey's back. I have a feeling they have forgotten that there is more than just one sport, or league, on this earth. I know you can say that about their NFL coverage too, but that's not my point today. My point is that the night game one of the NHL finals ended, what did they lead off sports-center with? That's right, talking about a game FIVE in the NBA SEMI-finals. The start of the FINALS in ANY sport carry far more weight than the SEMI-finals of any other sports, all biases aside. The 6-7 hours a day of non-stop breakdowns of Kobe and KG and LeBron are too much for me to handle. This was one of the most exciting post-seasons of hockey ever and if you didn't know better you would have had no idea what was going on. I mean, the team with the longest Cup drought (at the time) ended it's drought. It wasn't in a small market either, it was Chicago! The 3rd largest tv market in the country!! *deep breath*

So who's to blame? Well, partially ESPN and partially the league. Before the lockout a few years back ESPN carried the NHL. After the lockout they dropped their coverage. There's plenty of blame to go around and it's not just one party that's responsible. Hell, even us hockey fans shoulder some of it.

So now let's hunker down for a summer of coverage that includes the following:
Lebron watch 2010
Favre watch 2010
Tiger watch 2010 well as a few references to NFL training camps (thank God!!)

Happy ESPN-ing!

Monday, June 21, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 10: "Me" Time

We all know the term "me" time. It usually means time with just yourself and no other people around. Usually involving activities you enjoy, it allows you time to just be an introvert if you need to work things out in your head. It allows one some peace of mind and a sense of letting the brain cool down. Furthermore it can mean a nice balance in your social life. For me, yesterday and today are "me" time.

What's so different about that you might ask? Well this is the first time in probably two and a half weeks that I have spent two days in a row away from friends. I remember last week I accomplished an eight day stretch of hanging out with friends and co-workers. By the time I had some quiet time on Thursday of last week, it was much needed.

One might think I'm relishing my second day of hanging out with just me. Oddly enough, I kind of wish I had something to do. I mean there's only so much sitting in front of this computer applying for jobs that a person can do ALL day long (hence the blog break). The only negative part of the social aspect is that spending money, because we always tend to spend more than we intended.

So how much time is too-much "me" time for you? Is a single day a week enough, or could you go a whole week without seeing another person?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 9: We'll do it live!!!

That's right, we'll do it live. We'll also do it outdoors if it's summer.
So GR has to be a great destination for live outdoor concerts this time of year. Let's take a look at some recent outdoor music events that draw well around here.
This weekend is the annual weekend for the B-93 Birthday Bash, the 18th straight to be exact. This years crowds are as big as ever, with yesterday's coming in at close to 60,000 we still have today's to go. Yesterday was also the third annual Founders Fest put on by Founders Brewery in downtown GR. The event has continually drawn several thousand for a day of music and beer in the streets.

Last weekend saw both the LocalFirst event downtown and WGRD Wingstock at 5/3 Ballpark. Both music events drew in the thousands. Earlier in May B-93 put on it's first ever CountryPalooza in John Ball Park which drew about a thousand people for a day of music in the sun, which hopefully gets bigger in the future. Let's not forget the weekly Blues on the Mall series, the topic of discussion earlier.

Muskegon Summer Celebration is coming up real soon, and the waterfront celebration draws tens of thousands to watch big name acts from all over the country. In the previous two summers organizers put together a sort of modern Woodstock up in Rothbury, Michigan (Just North of Muskegon) in the middle of the woods. The several day long event winessed crowds of 50-60,000 camping out witnessing dozens of big-name acts from across all music genres. The event looks to kick-off again in summer 2011 after taking this summer off.

Nothing really says summer like a live music event outdoors in the summer. I encourage you to find something you like, or even stretch your horizons and show up to one. You never know just how much of a good time you'll have.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

30-Day Challenge Day - 8: Post #101

So this blog post is my 101st on here, so I think I need to celebrate in some fashion. Here is where you, my loyal two or three followers need to give me some ideas on what to do to celebrate such a momentus and un-important occasion.

I would first like to thank all of you who actually sometimes read and comment on my diatribe for making me aware that this is actually looked at by people other than it's author. Without you, this is merely a diary...which is not nearly as fun or cool. With that said, YOU need to go reward YOURSELVES for being such awesome people.

What's that? You need a current events opinion from me? Okay, if you insist. I think this whole BP oil spill is one of the three most horrific things to happen to our country and the results of it will be felt for 100 years. No, I'm not kidding...100 years. Several generations will have to deal with the result. The ONLY good that can come of it is that it will literally force our country into speeding up our energy diversification. It is also further evidence that drilling should be banned on the great lakes, and that Muskegon and Ottawa counties need to APPROVE the proposed wind farms that would be built two miles off-shore. Mason and Oceana counties already voted no on the issue. Such a vote explains why our state and country are in the dire position they're in; the people making the decisions there are too stupid to know better.

Okay, rant over. How should I celebrate?

Friday, June 18, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 7: A Cleansing Stream...

So today I feel as though I want to take the easy way out and just give you guys something to laugh at. I feel I've done pretty good with the opinions the last few days, so here's some Youtube gold:

Happy Laughing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 6: Blues

So last night was the second Wednesday this summer that the weekly Blue On The Mall concert was held on Rosa Parks Circle, and the first one I had been able to attend for the summer. A few simply observations from the evening are as follows.

1. This event is free to anyone and everyone, which is great for the city as it draws several thousand or more to the center of downtown every Wednesday. With this in mind, it has however become quite the stage for anyone and everyone who wants to announce that they are "different", anarchist, or just young and crazy. We go from one set of high schoolers who look like they all just escaped from a Nazi concentration camp to another set where the girls are dragging the boys around with metal studded leashes, and finally to one group that fervently believes they are the re-incarnation of Insane Clown Posse...face-paint, lyrics, shock-value and all. This is just a small sampling of the "fringe-kids" that mingle with the regular folk.

2. Last night was a bad night for people being stupid and getting arrested. I witnessed at least three arrests/police interrogations in the midst of the crowd. I was informed that while this weeks crowd wasn't quite as big as last weeks, the rowdy-factor was turned way up. By the way, the "Elite Security" (that was their name) force working with the police was about as un-professional looking as it could get. At least represent yourself well and look the part.

3. I hadn't noticed the break dancers off in their own corner by Biggby coffee before. I have to say I was quite impressed, they had about 8-9 dancers in their group and all performed, and did well. I like having a couple "side-shows" to the music (other than the obligatory people watching).

4. Lastly but not leastly (that's not even a word! HA!), this seriously gives Birthday Bash a run for it's money when it comes to people watching/crowd cruising. While not nearly as big, it's 100% quality diversity...if you want to call it that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 5: The AirTran Effect

If you've ever flown from Grand Rapids' Ford Airport, you know how pricey those airline seats can be as opposed to Chicago or Detroit. We've long ranked as one of the most expensive cities to fly from by annual government surveys. Grand Rapids has seemingly been unable to lure one of the prized "low-cost carriers" to town to alleviate the stress on traveller's wallets. That is until 2010.

A year ago Allegiant Air moved from Lansing to Grand Rapids, and grew steadily. The airline has recieved massive support from the region. Then in January, the real shoe fell. It was announced that AirTran Airways had finally agreed to begin flights from GRR. The airline started daily services to two of it's hubs at Baltimore-Washington and Orlando at the start of May, and added Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida on the weekends in June.

For the year 2010 passenger numbers at GRR are up a healthy 15%, but the real juice is where AirTran started services. The month of May 2010 saw a 26% increase in passengers from the same period in 2009. Furthermore in the middle of May, Frontier began daily services to Denver from Grand Rapids, competing directly with United, who already runs an daily non-stop to the Mile High City. These new numbers are conforming what critics and local travelers have long lamented. The West Michigan region is a perfect fit for major low cost airlines, and the real winners here are everyone; travelers, the airlines and Gerald R. Ford Airport.

The airport is hopeful for future expansion and further decreases in fare prices in the face of this good news.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 4: Forgiven Discrimination

This one's from the Times in London, but it's topic is relevent everywhere in the world. I find it's insight and research to be top-notch on the issue that the article is addressing. For me it's a great read simply because I can relate to this in my everyday life and it is always nice to hear from those facing the same discriminations of society.

Recent encounters have made me become more vocal on the issue when I hadn't before.

Monday, June 14, 2010

30-Day Challenge - Day 3: Favorite Vacation/Trip

So it's day three and I'm on track, let's keep this thing going!

Today's topic is asking you to share what your favorite vacation(s) or trip(s) were in your life. These can have sentimental value, it can be to see a long-lost friend or relative, the trip in which you proposed to her or just because it was such a cool adventure.

I've got a few on my list:
-Each trip to Florence, Alabama for the DII National Championship game.
-Both trips to Los Angeles, the first one because I had never been West of Minneapolis before, and second because I actually had time to explore there some.
-Going camping on Cumberland Island, Ga. in middle school, I got see palm trees and the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
-Going to Houghton in 2007 for a football game, this was the first time I had really gone deep into the U.P. and I can't wait to get back.

There are more, but I'll leave the rest up to you!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

30-Day Challenge: Day 2 WISHES

Morning people and happy Sunday!

I'm fulfilling my second day of blogging by posting something that's on my mind. The parent of a friend recently was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I'm sending my thoughts to her and all those who've been affected by the disease. This is the third friend of mine who's immediate family have been affected, and like many others that's far too many.

I encourage all of you to get on the Komen site and find local events in your area to help find a cure and help families struggling to cope while fighting.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

30 Day Challenge! Day 1

Hey all! I've recently checked out a fellow blogger and friend who's doing a 30-day challenge to blog for 30 straight days. She's already laid out what her topics will be for each day, which cn be nice. I however am going to go on the fly, as my mood and activities will have a random impact on my topics. Plus, you get more surprises!

So I'm now on my summer "break", serious job hunting is commencing, starting with resume and coverletter work. My last day of teaching was Thursday, and it was quite nice! This weekend's already been a crazy and packed time with tons of fun. Lots of sun involved here. I have to really work on un-casper-izing myself these next couple weeks as I have a real farmer's tan. More stories tommorow!

Okay, day one is in the books!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Final Countdown

Well I have three days left of teaching this year, then it's the great unknown. It's guarenteed to be somewhat scary as any unknown is, but I am certain far greater things will result.

I feel I've gotten a little too wrapped up in my current gig, and it may have cost me a summer job. However, I think that not being at that certain summer job will be far better for me...I can cut the chain off. I've also had to put-off important conversations with career contacts and discussing future university classes. The remainder of June come June 11 I need to lock-down and get back in the groove. Grad school won't happen until I take the entry tests. This thing needs to happen, and we all know what it is. I've done my internships, I've put in two years of teaching in giving back to the world. Now is time for the next step. It may be quite painful, but it must and will happen.

Life is one big adventure. When it's over you'd better have helped the world, and gotten some amazing memories and stories along the way. My next chapter is calling, and I need to turn the page despite how much I love this last chapter. Without saying a word, certain people around me have told me it's matter how much it hurts.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Jim Joyce Affect

Within minutes of the decision Wednesday night, Facebook was flooded with angry, spiteful messages. There were already multiple Facebook groups of denouncification...that already held a thousand members. People were calling for blood, and calling for action. Was this a war? A civil-rights issue? A crime? None of the above.

What had happened was one of the worst calls in major league baseball history was made live on regional and national television, at very possibly the worst time it could have been made. A very special event was mere seconds away from completetion. Armondo Galarraga, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, was one out away from completing the first perfect game in Tigers history, and only the 20th (or 21st) in MLB history. He had as far retired 26 of 27 batters. With two outs in the ninth the 27th stood waiting at the plate. With the pitch, the 27th batter swatted a grounder between 1st and second base. The Tigers first baseman came off the bag to field the ball, while Galarraga ran to cover first base. The throw from the first baseman fielding the grounder to Galarraga beat the runner by a stride and a half. First base umpire Jim Joyce called the runner safe, and a moment of shock shrouded the field and the stands. The Tiger players, some who had already began to celebrate, stopped dead in their tracks. A deep, painful chorus of boos echoed from the Comerica Park stands. Jim Leyland, the Tigers manager, as well as a few players argued the call with Joyce. There was nothing they could do, history had been unfairly altered. You by now probably know the drama that has played out with Joyce admitting error, and Galarraga's class in forgiving him, so let's move on to the larger picture.

In the hours and days following the event, fans continued to point the finger at Joyce. He of course was the one who made the fateful call. A few in the media and fanbase have however begun to realize the real culprit. The real culprit is MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. You see, thanks to Selig, major league baseball has no form of instant replay for anything other than homeruns. Many major mistakes occur in the game by the officiating crews today, which can go un-ammended or reviewed. This is the latest, and by-far one of the largest and most eggregous, to appear. Selig has continually maintained a hostile toward the idea of instant replay, citing the game's "purity" as reason to not enact the system that all other major sports have long since used. You see, the moment Joyce made that call, it was over. There was nothing anyone other than the commissioner could do to reverse the unjust call. We all by now know of the sly statement released from the commissioner's office yesterday that he will not reverse the call. You see, had this been hockey, or football, the play would have been rightly reviewed and the call reversed in moments. History would have it's rightful place and moment.

The time however has long since come and gone for baseball to act. Who is the next team and/or player to suffer from Major League Baseball's ineptitudes? Everyone and anyone is vulnerable to the same horrific gaffs we witnessed last week. The fact is that instant replay gives professional sports an all-seeing form of checks-and-balances. With the ever-furthering television technology in the past several decades, fans at home can see what fans in the stands might not get to see. The fans at home can also see the game in a far more advanced form than those who watched the game in the 1970's could. Modern television has become in it's own a form of vigilante truth to the game, putting the officiating of the game on display for all of society to be judge and juror.

It is in my opinion that baseball needs to right this. The real way they can right this is by istituting replay so this never happens to another team again. Team ownership and GM's from around the league need to come together and petition the baseball heirarchy for sweeping change, and now. Until that happens, Bud Selig and his cronies will continue to be the inept goats of Major League Baseball, and history will have it's ultimate judgement upon their names.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Big Wind-Down

So here we sit on Wednesday, June 2nd. The final full day of school (and my final day of employment teaching for this school year) is Thursday, June 10th. So technically I have six days in front of me in which to enjoy the last of the year and all the experiences it has brought me.

Last week was a busy one for the school and my interventions group program was put on the back burner. Last week Tuesday we held the annual field day, during which it was one of the warmest days of the year and I was running the Tee-Ball event. That was one hot and dusty day no doubt. We started at 9am and ran through until about 2:30 with a large lunch break in-between. One left work that day coated in sun-block, dust and your energy was thoroughly fried from the sun's rays. It was my most interesting day of teaching to-date.

On Friday I accompanied the 5th grade classes on their "senior" day-trip. We brought them to Camp Roger up by Rockford for a number of activities such as animal tracking, survival skills, rock-climbing, archery and other games. The day was a total success and the camp did a marvelous job. The staff we superb and totally engaged with the kids. It was 100% hands-on (as camp should always be) and quite educational.

My Memorial Day weekend was quite packed with fun. Post-work on Friday night I got to see some old friends from GVSU who have since moved away and I rarely get to see. It was a joy to see them once again. Saturday was spent with a run about noon in 90-degree heat with 70% humidity, followed by enjoying CountryPalooza at John Ball Park from 2 until 10 at night with Eric and Lisa. Saw some good local country bands (Small Town Son, Union Guns) and the national act Bombshel. It was a day which left you drained from the sun annd heat and instantly ready for bed. Great day in all!

Sunday morning was relaxing, followed by joining the gang in Allendale for our Memorial Day-eve festivities at 3pm. Drinks of all sorts were had, burgers and brats, chicken and chips. We spent the time both catching the sun's rays while shooting off bottle rockets then avoiding the heat for a moment indoors...and repeating the cycle. Later on the bonfire was started, and then the mosquitos arrived. We were all being eaten alive by midnight, and I had to depart at 2am as the insects were too irritating. Home by 2:30, asleep by 2:33. What an awesome Sunday.

Monday was a quiet day, spent doing laundry, watching TV, organizing items from the past month, and grocery shopping. The storms really killed and chance of any outdoor activity. I skipped my workout that day in favor of the slacker approach to life. Before I knew it, the time for bed had come and in the blink of an eye a three-day weekend filled with fun was over.

Tuesday (June 1) presented new experiences as it was our school's trip to a Whitecaps game. The whole operations was a rather new experience to a lot of the staff, so we rather rolled with the flow. Not everything went smoothly, but we at least had marvelous 80 degree/sunny weather! No kids got hurt and no one too stressed out. We did find that the first graders seemed a bit overwhelmed by the whole environment however.

Today I helped escorted the first grade to a morning bowling trip just down the street. We had probably eight lanes of the old-school two-story bowling alley (yes, two story!!) to ourselves...actually, we were the only ones there. I had a good time and the kids kept it together until the pizza's arrived. Then it was every teacher for themselves, hahahaha.

So there in a nutshell has been my past eight days. Everything is coming to close, although with as busy as it has been it hardly seems that way. I do need a new form of summer employment rather urgently, so if anyone has a good summer job let me know! Who knows, maybe this summer will be the time when I finally move away from this town...who knows.