Thursday 29 March 2012

a big win(s)

Contests aren't the be all and end all, but they do provide a goal, and set a high level.

Two groups of my students won awards in a National Video Contest.  So at least for a moment, I'll be a proud teacher.  Check out the Hillcrest entries...

Youth Privacy Contest


We won a 3rd place award in 2010 : 2010 Video

Wednesday 28 March 2012

the Long Haul

Maybe envy is too strong of a word; maybe it is isn't, but some days I dream of climbing up into my rig and going on a long haul out to the west coast.  Just the dream of a terrible introvert that spends the day in seething sea of teens.

Pancake's dad has this life.  He  is a truck driver.  In the morning of a long haul he'll slip his leather Bible under his driver's seat (a ritual that French picked-up from him).  Then he'll load in the cooler and a stack of tapes, and CD's.  Miles and miles of roads, cities, and a million songs.

I have to admit that all this "alone time", has made him a bit weird, but a good weird.  He comes back with heaps of stories gathered from every state and province.  When he gets back he'll decompress and sleep a bit.  Pancake's dad is on Facebook and his status updates are more often then not about what meat he has slow roasting, and what beer he is drinking.  His latest one was: "If it is above 12 degrees swing by  - we'll hit the back deck.  Ribs/Sleeman's Cream Ale."

Next time I'm back home I'll check the thermometer and go have some ribs, and a cold pint on the back deck.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Rattled by Rose

I was sitting on Pancake's deck in this oddly warm March weather on the weekend.  The usually quiet Rose Fish sat down beside me and launched into a very uncharacteristic burst of information.  She said that she had witnessed some healings while on a mission trip to Las Vegas.

Her church had gone down to work with a growing number of homeless men in that city.  Rose said that she had literally spent seven hours praying with her fellow missionaries and then set out for a night shift ministering to the street people of Vegas.  They had prayed over a man with a withered leg.  Rose lit up when she told me that she saw it grow back to a healthy state, in moments, with her own eyes.  I just looked at her, and said nothing.

Then she added that one of the missionaries had a gum, and tooth problem that would require a root canal.  They prayed over her, and the tooth went from diseased and rotten to healthy and pain free.  Again this was right in front of her eyes.  When the story ended she got up and went over to tell Sweaty.

I want to believe her, but I don't really.  This troubles me, and has ever since she told me on the weekend. 

Rose had told French the same story.  We talked about faith and French said: "Faith is easier said then done."  French took a swig from his Harp Lager and added: "Doubt isn't the opposite of faith, it is an element of faith."

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Top Jimmy

I went to a "rough" part of town on the weekend.  My son had a hockey game in a beat up old arena on the wrong side of the tracks.  I had about 1/2 hour before the game so I went for a walk.  Near this arena there was an LCBO and a Beer Store.  As I approached I saw a haggard looking guy begging for empties.

This made me think of French and how he dealt with the homeless people.  He'd always dig around and give them something:  a coffee, a slice of pizza, change, a swig...something.  French was like a lot of people in this regard, but there was one difference; he'd always sit and chat with the person as he gave them his gift.  He'd shake their hand, or bump knuckles, and share a quick story or a joke.  When he did this I'd always hang back and watch.  Somedays it was hard to get French away from the street person, especially if they had a dog, or an instrument.

So I gave this style a go.  I was thinking that this guy was going to have a long day without much reward (at 10 -20 cents a bottle).  I crouched down beside him cracked a joke or two, gave him some cash and shook his hand.  His said his name was Top Jimmy, and Top Jimmy couldn't stop thanking me.  It got a bit embarrassing with him calling out "thank-you" and "God Bless yah brotha", until I was out of hearing range.

French and Top Jimmy are pretty good guys.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

New York City

Here is a picture of French and I.  Can you see us?  ...Good luck eh.  (No. We did not buy a "Rolex".)

This was taken many yeas ago; back in High School.  There was a field trip to New York city and French and I both really wanted to go.  The problem was that you had to be in the enrichment class, or in drama.  French and I always took art class, never drama, and somehow we never ended up in the enrichment class (oversight).

French decided that we should still go on the trip.  So on the day of the first trip meeting we just showed up.  No one caught on.  The drama kids and teachers thought we were enrichment kids, and vice-versa.  The drama class met in the basement at one end of the school, and the enrichment class met on the top floor at the other end.  This fact really helped us out.  These two groups were only ever together at the trip meetings.

We had a few tense moments when the teachers were handing out assignments, but we kept our cool and never got busted on this great trip.  The closest we came was when a teacher from each group ended up at his desk at the same time.  He said: "I'll take a copy for my girlfriend, she's in the other class."  Both teachers just handed him a homework sheet.  French was right all along.  He said: "hand in all the forms, pay-up, and then keep our cool when the teachers are around".

French and I toured around the city, went to all the musicals, and theatre work-shops.  The best part is that we were the only two that had no assignments to stress us out; we could just sit back and enjoy.

Friday 2 March 2012

Looking the Part

French has gotten a few rare gigs as a supply teacher at the school where I teach recently.  This is great, but I've noticed a change...and outward one. 

French has cut his hair, and trimmed his facial hair.  He has also really altered his wardrobe.  I work in the tech wing so I try to blend in with denim and plaid.  When he comes down to our end of the school he really stands out.  He has taken to wearing a tweed jacket, tie, and khakis.  French has also started to wear very hip thick rimmed glasses (non-prescription lenses).  To finish it all off he wears Chuck Taylors.  He even carries around a leather satchel/briefcase.

I asked him: "What's with the get-up?"

He replied: "Just looking the part."

He explained that he was trying to look academic, yet cool.  French says, "that you gotta be down with the kids and the admin."