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Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag Rhymes with Blog

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Sketchbook - Matt Clark

My first two sketch-getting cons were big eye-openers, and wonderful experiences. So many cool things happened, from learning that most artists were willing to give free sketches, to getting all those free sketches, that I was way overwhelmed. At the first con, September 19th 1999, I got twelve sketches (including Matt Haley's Batman). At the second con, November 14th 1999, I got ten sketches and one Logo (Sean Konot, a letterer, did a logo for my sketchbook). You've already seen the sketch I got right after this one, but here is one of the coolest: The Matthew Clark sketch. This one is on my "top five" list.

by Matt Clark
14 November 1999
(permission to post given 14 September 2003 in person)
Mercury Studios

Matt Clark was the first artist who asked me to please go away while he sketched. I was a bit taken aback, but I wandered off while he sketched, coming back every once in awhile to see if he was done. I didn't realize how much effort he was willing to put into one sketch, and when I came back the final time to find it done, I think I stood there with my jaw on the floor for another eternity. I don't know if my shock was apparent. This one spoke to me. This one was just amazing. This sketch still blows me away every single time I look at it. And then Matt Clark had the grace to thank me for asking permission to post it, and to comment on my courtesy. When someone gives you a gift as utterly wonderful as this sketch, it's only right to ask for permission to share it.

To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me. Click for a random Aquaman sketch.

by Tegan at 6:44 PM Seattle time

Flipping Through Previews...

Yes, it's the amazing return of "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)".

First off, neither cover does a thing for me. The Kabuki cover is too monochromatic for my tastes, though if I look closely it isn't bad. It just strikes me as a yellow cover when glancing at the book. The DC cover has the Green Lantern ring, but the art style just makes me cringe. Yeah, we'll probably get it because hubby-Eric is a GL fan, but I really don't know if I'll enjoy it.

Moving on to the splash page (8-9) I see... The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss which is just a plain cool name for a book. Probably won't get it, as money is VERY tight this month, but it's fun to look at. Nothing else in the splash draws my interest.

On to Dark Horse. Freaks of the Heartland (18) looks interesting for a horror book. Something I would give a try if I could. I will be getting Usagi Yojimbo #72 (31) for sure. That's a no-brainer. The Jango Fett statue (40) looks cool, but I'm not in for high-end items at the moment (nor am I much of a Star Wars collector).

DC is the big list, of course. When is it not? The features section is always good for a look. DC: The New Frontier (52) is the book that was advertised on the cover, and it looks from the sample pages like the interior art will be fine. The price is an "ouch", but the book itself looks good. Superman: Secret Identity (56) looks very good. I knew a fellow who was named James Kirk, so I feel for the main character in this one, a kid named Clark Kent. I don't know what's more disturbing about Thundercats: The Return TPB (91), the fact that the art looks really good to me, or the fact that I actually understood the solicitation.

Into the main solicitations... in the Batman section we get Batman Adventures #10 and Birds of Prey (97). While the strange crossover in the Superman books looks... um... fun, we won't be buying into it. I see Superman: Birthright #6 (99), Smallville #6, and the previously mentioned Superman: Secret Identity #1 (100). In the regular DC books, Aquaman #14 (100), DC: The New Frontier #1, Fallen Angel #7 (101), Green Arrow #34, Green Lantern #173, H-E-R-O #12 (102), JLA #92, JLA: Zatanna's Search TP, JSA #56, JSA #57 (103), and probably the Hawkman books too, though I'd rather drop JSA during the crossover than buy three extra books in a month. Ahem, continuing on: Justice League Adventures #27 (104), Outsiders #8, and Plastic Man #2 (105). We'll also get Arrowsmith #6 (107).

Onward to Image! No Age of Bronze. In the latest issue (which came out Wednesday), Eric said the next issue would be in February, so look for the solicit next month. I don't know how I'm going to stand waiting that long, but that's life. I've been enjoying PvPonline a lot, but I'm not yet ready to take the plunge and buy the book. Ok, yes, I am ready, but my wallet isn't. Let's just say that I would be buying PvP #6 (144) if I had the money. And 1-5 too. I don't see any Powers this month, so Wildguard: Casting Call #5 (154) is the only other title. I'm slightly interested in Common Grounds #1 (156), but it isn't going to make the list unless I somehow win the lotto without buying a ticket.

Now for Marvel. The shipping list (170) has all the titles, and I guess that's enough to make judgement from. I don't think we'll bother with the 50 cent Avengers, since we can always get it in the store if we want to, and it would be no loss if it sold out before we get one. No point in pre-ordering. I see Supreme Power #6, 1602 #6, and Amazing Spider-Man #62/503. Yeah, we've been caught by 1602. Stop snickering. The Doctor Strange statue is awesome. If I was flush with cash, I'd get one, and I'm not even a Strange fan.

Ah, to the main comics section.

First item of interest is Alice GN (194) from About Comics. I suspect hubby-Eric would enjoy this almost as much as I would. It's an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", and from what little I see it looks good.

Antarctic Press still has me getting Assembly #3 (203) even though I haven't seen the first issue yet. Hey, it's a four issue mini, I'll go with it unless it arrives and is really, really bad. Another interesting looking book from AP is Heaven Sent #1 (206) which could be fun. I won't be getting it, though.

Astonish books has Spooner #1 (210), but it probably won't make the list, either. It looks like a fun book for couples, as it's about a married couple. It seems to be based on a newspaper strip, but I've never seen the strip in question before.

Bloodfire Studios offers Kindergoth #1 (220) which frightens me, if for no other reason than it says "mature readers". Young goths saving the world is kinda scary, too.

Bongo comics is putting out Futurama Comics #16 (220), the book that we can't seem to get off our pull list.

And suddenly we're into the CrossGen books. Abadazad #2 (234) makes the cut. Speaking of cuts, Crossovers has apparently been cancelled, so that's one less book on the pull. No new El Cazador this month. Way of the Rat #21 (245) makes it too. And that's it. Two books. Wonder how much longer CrossGen will exist?

Dork Storm Press puts out another issue of PS238 #6 (259), one of the best all-ages books currently out there. I want the PS238 T-shirts, too.

Drawn & Quarterly has yet another edition of The Golem's Mighty Swing (259), a book I would like to read. I wonder if the local library system might carry it?

Eureka Productions offers Graphic Classics: Mark Twain (276) which features Mark Twain stories adapted into cartoons. I'd like to say the list of contributors is impressive, but the only one I'm really familiar with is Rick Geary.

From IDW Publishing I see Grumpy Old Monsters #2 (294). I guess the proximity to Hallowe'en made me take a second look at this one, as it appears to be a funny story of classic movie monsters living in a retirement home. I missed the solicit for the first issue, but this one looks amusing.

Kim Rehr Productions has the third issue of a series that I thought was only two issues. Tuesday #3 (297) continues the story of how 9/11 impacted one life. I'm not sure if I'll get this, but I'm definitely intrigued. I'll probably dig out the first two and see if I want to continue with it.

Old School Comics title Possum At Large #1 (302) reminded me of my recent possum in the crawl space problems. No, I won't get the book, but it was a zen moment to read the title and flashback to the days of annoyance.

Random House lists Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (305). I think that book is still on my Amazon wishlist. Maybe, if I get any credit from Amazon this quarter for my "store", I can buy it.

Shanda Fantasy Arts has Furry Fandom #1 (307), a nice book to tell you all about those furry fans in all their... um... glory. People who were confused by the recent CSI episode ought to buy this book.

Silver Comics offers... Silver Comics #1 (308) which appears to be another attempt to bring back the good ol' days of comics. The interest to me is in the cover character, Sea-Bolt! Yes, a new underwater character.

Sirius gets serious with Akiko #52 (308). The cover is just wonderful, you gotta check it out. I wish I could find an on-line version of it...

Ok, on to the "rest" of Previews. Nothing of interest in the Magazines, and not much in the books this month, either. Well, except for The Brick Testament: Stories From The Book of Genesis (350). Yup, the website that I thought was so cool has now gone to print.

You can now get a T-shirt that says "Kryptonite" on it (371). Joy.

There's a new Aquaman action figure (386). It's the Justice League version, but it only has articulation at the neck and shoulders. Seems like a waste of money to me. In addition, it's only available in case packs, so unless my retailer wants to risk getting a bunch of other figures that she can't sell, I can't afford this one. No thanks, I'll pass.

I'm not usually into lunchboxes, but I just spotted one (436) that is perfect for hubby-Eric. Yes, it's Eric Shanower's Oz Domed Lunch Box, decorated with some of Shanower's great Oz artwork. I have a strange feeling this one will end up in my house somehow, one way or another.

Wow. Done. Hope you enjoyed this look at my "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". Until next month...

by Tegan at 5:52 PM Seattle time

Ah, The Morning After...

So All Hallows Eve went pretty well, all things considered. I spent most of the day helping out at the comic shop because the owner had an emergency to deal with. It was a nice change of pace. I've already told you about the record-breaking 19 trick or treaters this year. We didn't get any tricks played on us, though I noticed a lot of pumpkins tossed into the road when I went to work. Our pumpkins are still relaxing on the porch. Thanks to having a good crowd, there isn't too much candy in the house, which is nice. All-in-all, a good holiday for us.

by Tegan at 2:37 PM Seattle time

Friday, October 31, 2003

Wow, A Crowd!

I'm surprised. We've had 19 Trick or Treaters so far, including one group of goth teenagers who hubby-Eric said look like the way some of his students dress, so he wasn't entirely sure they were in costumes (I was... that much makeup is saved for special occasions). It's after 9 pm now, so I don't expect we'll get many more. But then, it's a Friday night Halloween, and the weather (though cold) is pretty nice.

Everyone who came got a package of comic books and cards left over from last year, along with a JLA Liberty and Justice preview and a full-size candy bar. The goth teens were shocked by the haul, and I think one of them actually stammered when she thanked me (they didn't bring bags, I guess they figured that fun-size candy would fit in their pockets). Once we ran out of the packages left over from last year, I started pulling out age-appropriate books from "the big box o' comics to give out for Halloween", making sure that each stack had at least three books. I think I'm going to have to re-supply the box soon, as it's actually been depleted by this year's efforts. And, maybe next year I'll buy us a package or two of the Halloween ashcans.

When my brother and his wife brought their children over (numbers 18 and 19) she and I talked about what a selfish holiday Halloween is. I think of it as just the opposite. I get to give out stuff to kids, and the only price they have to pay is to dress up and impress me with their costume and their bravery of coming up to my door. I love the giving aspect of Halloween. I never loved trick or treating nearly as much as I love being on the other side of it.

by Tegan at 9:21 PM Seattle time

Hallowe'en Handouts

At some point today I'm going to make a sign to put over our "No Solicitors" sign that says "Trick or Treaters Welcome". We'll still only get half a dozen, and then only if we're lucky. I've got the mini-comics (Archie and Spidey ("I wanna eat your brains!")) to give out. And a whole 'nother box of comics in the garage should we get more than six people. The box of candy this year is Nestle Crunch with Caramel (full size). There's only 24 bars in the box, but we've never had more than eight ToT'ers at this house, so it shouldn't be a problem.

The heat had turned itself on when I got up this morning, so it looks like it's going to be a very cold Hallowe'en, but at least it seems like it'll be dry this year (knock on wood). I don't ever recall a dry Hallowe'en in my youth, although there must have been some. I hope we don't get another windstorm. I hate cold and windy, and I'd be fighting myself to stop from inviting the kids in to get warm. Maybe I'll aim the space heater out the door for them when they come by, so they can get a little warmth.

by Tegan at 11:38 AM Seattle time

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Open Thread - Halloween Costumes

Ok, I know I don't have enough readers to justify an open thread, but I'll try anyway. Here's the subject: What costume are you wearing for Halloween? or, alternately, What costume would you like to wear for Halloween?

I'll start. I don't intend to wear a costume this year, though I have a lab coat somewhere from an old con costume, I may put that on and try to be a mad scientist (though to really make that work I'd need safety goggles and rubber gloves). I've always wanted to dress as a Victorian era zombie... really nice old clothing that looks somewhat dusty, and a grey face with staring red bloodshot eyes. I would probably need a wig to round it out. I think I could manage a frightening look.

Ok, your turn...

by Tegan at 10:47 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

James Kochalka has put up a free short Halloween story for you. And me. And everyone else. Enjoy.

$60 in Manga versus $60 of American comics. Ouch.

Explore a shipwreck on-line. via Doc Shazam

Why you shouldn't dress as Scott McCloud on Halloween. via Scott McCloud

On another Halloween note, Atrios is threatened with legal action for linking to someone and calling him a stalker in his linked entry. Now that's scary.

by Tegan at 9:28 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 22 October 2003 - Part IV

Birds of Prey #60: Confusion to start out with, then increasing admiration for Simone's writing. All-in-all, a very cool finish... or start. 4 starfish

Avengers/JLA #2: Well. I wasn't expecting the "quest" part of the story to end so quickly. In fact, I may be the only reader on earth (from reading other people's negative reviews) who thought this issue was considerably better than the first with far more twists then expected. Oh well. I liked it. A lot. 4 starfish

Finishing late again, so here's this week's shipped books that I'm starting to review now: Ruse, Green Lantern, JLA, Age of Bronze, Way of the Rat, and Amelia Rules.

by Tegan at 2:11 PM Seattle time

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A Short Story for Hallowe'en

As promised, here's a short "ghost" story I wrote some time ago. Not much to it. This was one of those rare tales that insisted on being written down. I didn't write it so much as record it. I haven't edited it much since writing it, either. If you like it, feel free to say so (if you don't like it, well, feel free to not say so. The lack of comments will warn me not to try fiction here again).


A snippet, an image.

It is a closet. A freestanding wardrobe that has been shoved into an alcove. The doors, of a dark wood, have one carving each. On the right is a carving of an elderly lady, elegantly dressed with a tired frown on her face. She doesn't look particularly mean, but she does look distant, unapproachable. On the left is an elderly gentleman. He is also dressed in an elegant outfit, but his seems more shabby, used. The coat almost manages to look frayed.

They both look outward, eyes haunted and cold with exhaustion or fear.

It was just a game they played. Running around the house, each one finding a new place to hide. The other inevitably finding the first, and the game starting over.

The boy hasn't been in this room, with the closet, before. But the large closet looks like an inviting place to hide, if it is empty. The doors swing freely open when he grasps the brass handles and lightly pulls. There is no lock, apparently.

And the closet is completely bare, not even a needle remaining from whatever had occupied it before.

His brother is on the stairs, so the boy dashes in and pulls the doors shut behind him. The laughter of his brother echoes down the hall, and his own breath seems too loud and harsh in the darkness. He can hear his brother searching, but the sounds seem to become more distant and faded as he listens. And he feels a growing unease.

The doors had shut out all light when they closed. The air seems thicker and warmer than it should. And distantly, he can hear voices that shouldn't be in the silent house. The voice of an old woman, asking a question, and the answer from a deep voice that has bravado more than confidence.

The boy, who had been crouching, stands. His head could brush the ceiling of the closet if he stands on tiptoe, but instead he pushes hard against the doors.

What seemed so fragile before now seems as solid as a granite wall. He pushes again, and again. He throws his whole weight against the doors. The voices grow louder, and the woman sounds almost angry.

In desperation and fear, he pounds with both fists against the doors, screaming for his brother, yelling at the top of his lungs. The woman is almost here, he can almost feel her behind him. He pounds and tears run down his cheeks as the phantoms approach.

He quiets, and readies to turn and face the nightmare, when the doors are thrown open and he sees his big brother's grinning face.

He is out of the closet in a moment, and holding his brother tight. The tears return and shock replaces joy in the older boy's eyes. The older boy examines the closet. Empty and still. Nothing inside at all. As the scared brother describes what happened, the older boy studies the edges of the doors to see if he can figure out what caused the doors to stick.


Holding his younger brother tight, the searcher closes the closet. The lady looks at the two boys from her carving with an intensity that neither had noticed before. The two retreat from the room, to get away from the glowering figure. Silence falls.

by Tegan at 6:32 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

This one is for Paige: Helplessly Addicted to eBay Barbie.

The more I read about Diebold voting machine problems, the more angry I get. How did anyone let this happen? We really are sheep. And it's more than a little disturbing how Diebold is repressing news of the fraud and succeeding at some universities.

Check out this Halloween lit quiz. I only got six right. How did you do?

Yaaah! Pop Culture Gadabout loads quickly now! It was all because of that pesky blogspot archive function, that sometimes works and often doesn't. The archive problems are why my archives are manually done and on a different server... *sigh*

I finally gave up and added a link to Google's translation of La Cárcel de Papel, since I was only getting the gist of the posts, and wanted more. Of course, as soon as I do that, he gets server problems. *sigh*

Here's a great overview of DC's Spectre, the perfect go-to guy for Halloween. via Fanboy Rampage

Also from Fanboy Rampage, DC has a minisite up for the new Plastic Man series. This entry is for hubby-Eric.

Happy birthday, Paul. Sorry I didn't say anything yesterday, but I was rather down. I'll post a short "ghost" story I wrote later today for you. Actually, I can't say I wrote it. It was one that wrote itself, I was just lucky enough to be the one putting the words down.

Jason had some thoughts on my review of the Kim Stanley Robinson book (no permalinks, scroll down).

The Wonder Twins! on PvPonline. I'm liking this comic better and better. And, if that wasn't enough for a comic book fan, check out today's Sluggy Freelance. I love it!

Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo made a comment about going to cover the New Hampshire primaries, and suddenly was deluged with contributions, before he'd even set up a drive for the money. I wish I could tap into that potential to pay my mortgage! But I figure there's several problems with me trying to get money from blogging: 1) Most of my readers are probably as poor as I am, 2) I would need to use the money to get a new computer and to pay off debts, not do something cool and interesting that I could blog about, and 3) I don't have any way for anyone to contribute, anyway! Yeah, I have a link to a support this site page, but you'll notice there is no way to directly contribute to us there. The only way anyone could directly contribute to me is to buy me something from my wishlist, and that's not likely since, as far as I can tell, no one has even bought anything from through any of my links for themselves, why would anyone buy something for me? Everybody is poor. Still, I can dream about saying something like "Gee, I'd like to blog about the San Diego Comicon" and getting enough money to cover expenses... *grin*

Everyone knows about the fake Riverbend site, right? To sum up, some idiot has been trying to pass himself off as the Iraqi blogger Riverbend, with a similar blogspot name, and identical set-up. The posts on the fake site are mostly cut and pasted from elsewhere, and are rabidly pro-American.

I keep seeing this pop up on other blogs, so I thought I'd add it here, as it illustrates an important point, in my opinion, about the "No Child Left Behind" act: Experienced and award-winning social studies teacher no longer allowed to teach social studies.

Another educational blogger discovered that hubby-Eric's Wizard of Oz page was a resource for them before hubby-Eric started blogging. Excuse me while I burst with pride.

I take exception to Jeff's characterization of Seattle as a town "without a long baseball history". Sorry Jeff, Seattle has had baseball from the beginning, including many championship teams. Seattle has a huge history of being a baseball town. I don't disagree with the rest of the blog, about bringing a Major League team to Portland, but don't call Seattle a city without a baseball history.

And on that note, off to work...

by Tegan at 12:32 PM Seattle time

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Not Really Up To Blogging Today

I was watching the news last night, and I found myself stunned by the extent of the fires in California. I had thought they were just brush fires again... no big deal. I didn't realize... it hadn't registered, just how bad it is. First thing this morning I sent off an e-mail to one of the few folks I know in San Diego (and who I have easy contact info for) to ask if he was ok. So, to the comic world: Yes, Eric Shanower and his family are ok, and Age of Bronze comes out tomorrow.

by Tegan at 4:36 PM Seattle time

Monday, October 27, 2003

Random Thoughts

New at Marta's Livejournal: Hermione gets her cat. Marta's gone back to the older books for a break from the latest one.

A young man jumped in front of a truck to save his friend, and now has a Harry Potterish scar on his forehead.

Mark Evanier has the scoop on the new Dr. Seuss stamp.

Wow. And I mean, WOW. I wish I could afford these, because WOW. via Neil Gaiman

Franklin Harris makes me glad I didn't pick up the Superman/Batman series. I never intended to, though I was mildly tempted. Seems I chose wisely.

Is it just me, or does Pop Culture Gadabout always take at least two minutes to load? It's too good a blog to not read, but it always loads so slow... I hope it's just a symptom of me running old software on my ancient computer, but it still irks me.

Life in Middle Earth is better with the internet. via Unqualified Offerings

Big Sunny D has a pleasant lovefest for his favorite comic book: Hellboy. The only Hellboy story I have read is the Pancakes story he mentions at the end, and I loved it. I've avoided Hellboy mostly because I'm not a big fan of Mike Mignola's artwork (although I've noticed that's changing as I grow older). As if Big Sunny D's thoughts aren't enough, PvPonline has a little tribute, too. This entry is for Carol.

I cleaned under my bed today, after leaving it for far, far too long. I'm now a dust bunny mass murderer. That's why I was interested when The Modulator linked to a picture of a dust bunny. *giggle* (and here are more)

Paul got to meet Bruce Campbell! Cool.

Since everyone else is linking to Atrios, I thought I'd link to a bit on his site about some charter schools that failed.

by Tegan at 9:11 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 22 October 2003 - Part III

Outsiders #5: It's not a good sign when you are about to review a book and you suddenly can't remember if you even read it yet. That's how forgettable it is. This book doesn't do anything for me. Even the cliffhanger just made me raise an eyebrow. Sure... like we haven't seen that before. 3 starfish

Amazing Spider-Man #59/500: I was expecting more, I guess. Yeah, comic books like their slugfests, and this was the opportunity to do a slugfest of a generation, but I got a little bored with the "fighting past fights" thing about halfway through, then the ending was fairly bitter, to me. A good gift, if you can give it, but still it would be hard to be "happy" at that point. It was ok, but I was expecting more. 3 1/2 starfish

Cinnamon: El Ciclo #3: Still working with the whole "redemption" theme, Cinnamon intends to sacrifice herself. But things never work out like you expect them to, do they? The last page intrigues me. Particularly where the eyes are looking in the next-to-the-last panel versus where the bullet is going. Very interesting. 4 starfish

Still to review: Birds of Prey and Avengers/JLA.

by Tegan at 11:44 AM Seattle time

This... Is... Jeopardy!

Some time ago, my boss' husband was at a trade show and won a prize for attending a demonstration. The prize was a classroom set of the quiz show "Jeopardy!". After a bit of thought, he decided to give the set to my hubby-Eric so hubby could use it in a real classroom and get some serious feedback on it. Last night, we set up the set, and with the help of my little sister, we played a couple of two-person rounds.

Now, lest you think this is something small, this is a console that connects to a TV set, and the "answers" appear on the set. There's also a scoreboard which shows the current score and tells which player gets to choose and stuff with some simple lights. Each player gets a wireless remote which they simply need to hit when they have the "question", and the host of the game has another really simple remote that controls the game. We have the basic set, but the catalog says it's expandable up to ten scoreboards, that would be thirty players at the same time! The retail value of the basic set is $400, so we are really impressed that this was donated to hubby-Eric.

Anyway, we tested the game last night, and it was great. The first game was me against my sister, with Eric as the host. The level was for grade-schoolers, so neither of us had any problem coming up with answers. We quickly learned that timing is a large part of winning in Jeopardy. Also, good use of daily doubles helps to get ahead. Although I was convinced that Lisa would beat me, I triumphed in the end by betting nothing on Final Jeopardy. Realizing that I needed to quit while ahead, I took on the host duties for the next game. The host controller only has eight buttons, but you control the whole game from it. It took all of the first round to get the hang of it, but then it became a pretty simple matter. I can see hubby giving a short training session to his fellow teachers, then all of them being able to use this in their classrooms. Anyway, Lisa won the second round thanks to finding Daily Doubles and betting LOTS on them.

The basic set comes with five games, but the cartridge can hold up to twelve. There's also more "canned" games available from the vendor, which Eric is interested in (particularly the Middle School Math one). In addition, the basic set comes with a keyboard that allows you to write your own questions to be stored on a cartridge (and yes, you can get blank cartridges).

After our test run last night, I really would like to see this in action in a classroom. Considering how much fun we had with just two players, it would be interesting to see a bunch of players doing a round robin tournament of some sort. I'm sure once Eric uses it in the classroom he'll blog about it. But my contact with it will probably be limited to just this trial run, so I thought I'd let you all know that this is cool. Now, as a retailer, I've got to figure out how to sell this to PTAs and other groups that want to support teachers (since no teacher is likely to spend $400 on their own, even if the entire staff of the school can use it). It would be a lot of fun to take this around to schools and PTA meetings and show people how cool it is. Maybe someday...

by Tegan at 9:29 AM Seattle time

Sunday, October 26, 2003


As I went to visit my brother and his kids today, I spotted a clump of clover, and I noticed one that didn't look quite like the rest. I stooped over and touched it... sure enough, it had four leaves instead of three. My sister, who was with me, saw me pick it, then I looked again at the clump. She asked why I was still looking. I told her, based on my many many years of experience in collecting four-leaf clovers, that they always come in twos. She hadn't known that, and I had almost forgotten. But I didn't find another one, so we went into the house and gave the lucky clover to my brother, who is looking for a job and needs all the luck he can get right now.

As we left, exhausted by two very energetic little ones, I stopped at the clump again and reached down. Sure enough, there it was, the second four-leaf clover. I handed it to my brother through his computer room window. As much luck as Eric and I might need, I think my brother needs it more right now.

by Tegan at 8:40 PM Seattle time

Update on the Marysville Teachers Strike

Yeah, I know. The teachers are back in the classroom, but the fight isn't over and the teachers are still on strike in a way. I'll explain in a bit. But first, let me get you up-to-date on the stuff that the media doesn't find important enough to report.

First off, it's only been three days of school but it seems like an eternity since the vote to return. One parent from Marsyville summed up the feeling of the teachers better than even many of the teachers have been able to in a letter to the Seattle P.I.: "I don't think the court order and potential fines for not returning to work did much to affect the teachers decision. These teachers face 20-30 kids in a small room every day. It would take a lot more than a court order to scare them." -James C. Dunn. He's right. The teachers returned to work because the court gave them an extension on last year's contract, which allowed them to go back with a contract, an option that the district never gave them. The teachers also returned to work because the kids were suffering. Despite what people said about them, the first time they were allowed a voice since the initial vote to strike, they chose to go back. They care about the kids. The school board and superintendent do not. So let's get this straight. The court order didn't force the teachers back. The teachers chose to go back because the injunction gave them another option.

Eric told me that two of his classes have 38 kids. That doesn't sound like small class sizes to me. I don't know that I'd want to face thirty-eight 8th-graders twice a day. And in a brilliant stroke of bad planning, one of his other classes has only 13 students. Oops.

The parents who supported the teachers during the strike decided to give the teachers a gift when they returned, and went around to schools festooning them with red ribbons (red is the color the MEA adopted, so the red ribbons mean support for the teachers). Unfortunately, someone in the administration heard about the plan, possibly from reading the AIMS message board, and the ribbons were removed before the teachers arrived at work from most buildings. Wonder if someone got paid overtime to remove ribbons?

As another slap in the face, the district decided that every teacher needed to have copies of the injunction. Not one copy, no. One is not enough. Two copies? No, that's not enough. The district sent THREE COPIES of the injunction to every teacher, one of them via certified mail (which cost the district about $4.50 a pop for over 650 teachers). Talk about another waste of money! And this was AFTER the teachers voted to return. Methinks the administration still doesn't get it.

On the first day of school, some students showed up at the Heritage program (which incorporates education about the Tulalip nation with the regular curriculum) only to find out that the program had been canceled for grades 6 through 8. And the administration didn't even bother to tell the students affected or their parents of the change! What was the administration doing those 50 days? If you are going to cancel a major program like that, you darn well better let anyone affected know AHEAD OF TIME. As it was, some kids had to be picked up (by their parents) and taken to another school, where they started the day late. But it doesn't end there. Apparently the district failed to notify the Tulalip tribe of the change, and there are a lot of hard feelings now. The Tulalips have agreed to pay more to fund the school and bring back the 6-8th grades, but they shouldn't have to. And this should have been settled long ago, since it seems like a decision that was made long ago. Just another example of why this administration has to go.

So, you following me still? We're still on the first day of school...

Several teachers were informed on Wednesday that they would not be paid until November 30th. There are a number of problems with this, including the fact that waiting until the end of Nov is illegal under state law, as well as directly contradicting the court injunction. No surprise, as soon as this was pointed out to the district, they changed their tune and said of course the teachers will be paid October 31st. But the teachers will only be paid base pay. Oopsy, that's against the court injunction, too! In fact, the district, as of this writing, is STILL not in compliance with the order by Judge Krese.

Wednesday night a rally by the Evergreen "Freedom" Foundation was held, in which almost 100 people, most of them not from Marysville, gathered to bash teachers. State Representative Hans Dunshee showed up and apparently held up pretty well against people who irrationally hate teachers. He also talked about finding other ways to solve district disputes without making teachers resort to striking, which should always be an absolute last resort. The EFF also sent out fliers to people in the district, which apparently included an offensive cartoon of some sort. Glad we didn't get it.

Speaking of which, the teachers are still on strike. Do not make any mistake about it. Yes, they are back in the classes. No, they aren't trying to "work to the contract" (a method that never works anyway, because no teacher can put in so little time and be effective). They are on strike against the administration, but not the students. If a student needs help, the teachers are there. If the administration expects them to put in more time without pay, they won't.

Well, there's more to write about, including the smear campaign against one of the school board candidates Michael Kundu. Unfortunately for Kundu, there's a lot to smear if one wants to look hard enough (any passionate environmentalist is going to have problems with some people). However, the guy admits to his mistakes, and has more integrity in his little finger than the entire current school board has shown. I think the Marysville School Board would be better off with Kundu than without him.

Then there's the attempts by the school board and superintendent to set up a calendar, which is one of the items that is negotiated in the teacher's contract. The one that the district refuses to bargain on.

There's also the pathetic efforts of the Everett Herald, a true rag instead of a newspaper, to "cover" this story by only reporting the anti-teacher side and only doing research if it will hurt the teachers. You'd think that the "reporters" at that rag just call up Judy Parker when they want to do a story about the Marysville strike and use her as their only source. And yes, I know that someone from the Herald has been reading this blog every day (your IP gives you away, you know). I still think your paper is crap and I'm glad I didn't make the mistake of subscribing to it when my husband first got the job in Marysville. I was going to, but he suggested we wait for his first paycheck. That turned out to be a good thing. I didn't realize the Herald was so poor on reporting that it doesn't even bother to research a story that impacts its readers like the Marysville strike. The local media has done a very poor job on this story, but the Herald should be the one to get the scoops. Instead, it sat back and took what the district's PR fed it, never even making any effort to verify. Pathetic.

Enough for today. I'm sure there will be more on this whole thing, but the more I write, the more angry I get at the people who caused this and the people in the media who allowed it to perpetuate. T-minus nine days until the election, until we have an idea if the Marysville School District is salvageable.

by Tegan at 12:32 PM Seattle time