I've Been Tricked!

William Shatner just scammed me and and entire town! It turns out that the movie he was filming in Riverside, Iowa, was just a hoax! According to an article in the Iowa City Press Citizen, it was part of a show intended to show what it would take to fool everyone in a small town.

The ruse was revealed last night by Shatner and producers at a town gathering at Hall Park, and Shatner held an official press conference in Riverside at 11 a.m. today.

Shatner and producers of "Invasion Iowa" said at the press conference Wednesday that the purpose of their trip to Riverside was not to make anyone in the town look foolish. Instead, their goal was to document how a small town would react to a big Hollywood film coming in.

During his time in Riverside, Shatner treated other Hollywood staff members rudely to gauge how townspeople would react, for example.

Well, that explains why he had one of his staff members carrying around his Emmy award. Shows where people are conned like this are a lot funnier when it is someone else who is being fooled.

I guess he isn't entirely a bad guy here as producers did pay the town $100,000 for its trouble and members of the crew gathered another $12,000 to give to the elementary school.


Crappy Timing

Last week I got an email regarding a job that I had applied for at the end of June. The job was with the test development company in Iowa City that I worked for during the summer. It's a job that I am really thinking I would love to have, and I'd be good at. Unfortunately, I am bound by contract to teach where I am currently until June.

Today, I got a call from another major test development company in Iowa City, one which I interviewed for a job with last spring, also expressing interest in me for a position. Damn it! If I didn't have the dedication to fulfilling my contractual obligation, I'd possibly have two different positions to consider in a field that I would like to get into. Hopefully one, or both, or these companies will have available positions as the school year nears its end.


My Civic Duty

Another thing that I did today was to cast my votes in the upcoming election. Because of changes in Iowa election laws, voters can vote up to 40 days prior to an election. As I posted earlier, I received my ballot in the mail on Friday. I filled it out and mailed it today.

On the local news the other night, someone at an election office (I don't remember which county) warned people of the danger of voting this early is that one may end up changing his or her mind after casting a vote, but before the election. Once the vote is cast, it can't be changed. This is a valid concern, but it isn't limited to voting early. One could decide, immediately after inserting a ballot into the machine at the polls, that he or she made a wrong choice, but again, it's too late to change it.

I have been confident in my decision about who I would be voting for, for a while now, so I see no reason to wait any longer. Now, maybe I'll get fewer phone calls from political campaigns.

Oh, Homercles, I'm sorry to say, but I decided not to vote for Ralph Nader.

Big Weekend

This was a pretty big weekend. On Friday night, my girlfriend and I went to another high school football game where my school's team lost, and they lost big! Yesterday we went to see The Forgotten and then we rented Jersey Girl, which we watched after dinner. The Forgotten was alright. The end was pretty strange. We both really enjoyed Jersey Girl. I had heard bad things about this movie, but I thought it was really good.

Today we watched Star Wars on VHS since I haven't yet gotten the DVDs; my birthday is next month and I'll probably be getting it then. Anyway, after the movie she asked me how I felt about the fact that we only see each other on the weekend. We decided that she will be moving in some time next month. Not only will we be able to see a lot more of each other, but she'll be able to save quite a bit of money on rent for an apartment she is hardly ever in as she stays at my house each weekend. Also, we'll be able to talk without spending an hour or more on the phone each day. I also think that this will be good, because I will be able to go visit my friends out of town on the weekend occasionally without feeling guilty about it since I will be able to see her all week, not just during the weekends as I do now.

One down side about this is that she has two cats. I don't mind cats, but I am worried that they may make a mess in my house. I guess I can get used to everything being covered with a layer of cat hair.

Now I just have to figure out how I am going to tell my mother.


Time to Vote

I received my absentee ballot for the general election in the mail yesterday. I decided that I would prefer to vote from the comfort of my own home, where I have time to carefully consider each of the many options presented to me. Ok, it won't take me too long to decide on most of the issues. I've pretty well made up my mind on all of the partisan races, and on the other, nonpartisan local races, everyone is running unopposed. In fact, for one office Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner, there are no candidates! There are just three write-in candidate lines. I'll also probably vote to retain all of the judges. I haven't heard anything bad about any of them, so they are probably doing an alright job.


Chuck Grassley

It's good to know that my senator still finds the time to mow his own lawn and that he drives an old car around the state to meet his consituents. The commercials that he's running now don't say much about any issues, but it probably doesn't matter. I highly doubt that his opponent Arthur Small (whose name I had to look up right now) has a chance of winning.


The Emmy

Looking again at the photo I posted yesterday, which I am repeating here, it looks like William Shatner has someone carrying around the Emmy that he won Sunday night for his work on The Practice. The original caption of the photo stated this, but I somehow missed it. Do all Emmy winners carry their awards around with them?

Update: Shatner

Reading the Press Citizen this morning, I learned that a former student of mine at Highland High School in Riverside, who just happens to be the son of the Riverside mayor, has a small speaking role in the William Shatner movie Invasion Iowa. It's not that I am jealous or anything, oh what the hell, yes I am! I've been a huge Star Trek fan since I was in junior high school so many years ago. Well, the KGAN news last night said that Shatner would be signing autographs sometime while he was here. Perhaps I can get one for myself. That would be something, because I don't think he does many autographs anymore.


Oh My

Note: If you didn't read the title in George Takei's distinctive inflection, go back and read it again. If you don't know what I am talking about, this probably won't excite you much anyway.

From the Iowa City Press Citizen's website, "Star Trek star William Shatner will be in Riverside for the next 10 days, filming scenes for his upcoming, low-budget sci-fi flick, 'Invasion Iowa.'"

I don't know why, but when I read the article, I was really excited by this. It's not like I am actually going to go to Riverside (the town in which Shatner's Star Trek character Captain Kirk will be born on March 22, 2233) and bump into him or anything, but people I know are sure to run into him. For three years, I taught at the high school in Riverside, Iowa. Actually, the high school is a few miles south of the town, but kids from Riverside to attend the school. I also have a friend who lives in Riverside.

According to the article, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are co-writing this picture. I'm not sure what to expect from such a venture, but I am certain that I will see this movie if it ever makes it to theaters. Perhaps I'll even have to buy it if it goes straight to video. Anyway, I find it interesting that Priceline.com is chipping in for a "making of" film of this movie.

I tried to look up some more information about Invasion Iowa on the Internet Movie Database, but nothing turned up.

Finally, a reply!

Mid-June, while I was working for a test development company in Iowa City, I submitted an application for a position with that company, but I never heard anything back from the person who was involved in hiring for the position. Well, today I finally received an email from her regarding a position with them. Unfortunately, now that the school year has started, I would not feel right about bailing out on my teaching contract. If I would have heard something before school started, I wouldn't have had as much of a problem with it. Anyway, I explained my situation to her and expressed that I am interested in a position with them, but I will not be available until after June 4. Hopefully they will still have some opportunities then, and from what I was told at the end of the summer, they probably will. However, I suppose that if the right offer were to be made, I could find some way to get out of my contract, but hopefully it won't come to that.

Star Wars... Nothing But Star Wars

Unfortunately nothing is what I have right now in regards to a Star Wars DVD set. I am so tempted to either order it online right now or just to go to the store to buy it, but I put it on the list of things that I would like for either my birthday, which is next month, or for Christmas. Maybe I'll watch one of the movies tonight on VHS. If I want, I can even watch the original, non-Special Edition versions of the movies, which is something that I wouldn't be able to do with the DVDs. Of course, I also have the Special Edition of the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS which I could watch as well.


Let's Go to the Movies

My girlfriend and I went to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow this afternoon. It was a good movie. Watching it, knowing that the entire flick was shot in front of a blue screen, did not distract me at all. It actually helped the film. I feel that it added to the film-noir feel of the movie. This was a fun movie to go to.

I think I may be starting to have problems with my diet. While I did lose two pounds from last week, I went to Dairy Queen this afternoon where I had a medium Brownie Batter Blizzard. Then this evening, I had a couple of the banana bars that I baked yesterday. I was going to take them to work to share, but the icing, which is almost entirely sugar, didn't turn out well. So, I am just going to eat them myself. Maybe I should freeze them so they will keep longer.

Putt Putt

I had a great day yesterday. A friend of mine, who I will call Willy here, came to visit yesterday afternoon along with his son and another friend. We had a great time. They initially planned on going to the National Cattle Congress fair, but we changed our minds about that. We, along with my girlfriend, ended up going miniature golfing. I hadn't done that in quite some time.

After golfing we went to dinner where we had some delicious pizza at The Other Place. They really know how to make a good pizza. After dinner, we returned to my house where we chatted for about an hour and a half before my friends left to return to their homes.

As I've stated earlier in my blog, most of my good friends live at least a hour's drive away from where I do and I don't get to see them too often. So when I do, I try to enjoy our time together.


Rock You Like a Hurricane

Watching hurricane Ivan coverage on Good Morning America this morning, I don't understand the weathercasters who stand outside in the thick of the storm. Of course, they are doing it because it creates some extremely interesting video, and I suppose that gets people to watch them, but who can take them seriously when they tell people how they really should evacuate since they are staying behind? I wonder if any of these weather people have ever been killed while covering hurricanes. Despite my concern for the apparent stupidity of these weathercasters, it is fun to watch.


THX 1138

I am trying to decide if I want to purchase THX 1138 when it comes out on DVD next week. I haven't read any reviews yet of the DVD, but I am wondering if George Lucas felt the need to "improve" this movie in the same fashion that he improved the original Star Wars movies. Maybe I'll just rent it. If I want to get it later, I can buy it used when the rental stores sell off some of their copies, or maybe I can get it from a used DVD place.

I have one more test item I need to write. I sure hope they like them. I wouldn't want them to think the the quality of my writing is dropping as I may try to get a job with them once the school year ends. Let's see if I can get this one last item done while watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.


Personal Day

I put in a personal day request today for May 19, 2005. It may be months away, but personal days can be hard to come by in May as people try to use them up and the school district only allows so many people to use personal days on any given day. As it is a personal day, they don't require a reason other than "personal." That's good, because I probably would have felt a little ridiculous if I had to say that the reason for my personal day was to go to the midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith which opens at midnight the night of May 18.


My Weekend

I haven't blogged in a few days, so I guess I will summarize my weekend. Friday night I went to another high school football game. We were playing our cross-town rivals and we won big. The final score was 49 to 14 and it was a long game, lasting about three hours.

On Saturday my girlfriend and I went downtown to check out a 9/11 memorial called the Healing Field. One thousand American flags were placed in a park to honor those who have been killed fighting the war on terrorism since September 11, 2001. Each of the flags had a yellow ribbon tied to its pole with the name of someone who has died in the war.

Later on Saturday, we traveled to North Liberty for "game night" with friend from a school that I used to teach at. More people attended than I expected. It was a lot of fun. We only played one game then we spent a lot of time just talking. It was nice to find out what is going on where I taught a few years ago. I truly miss the people I worked with there and even quite a few of the students. I also had the chance to talk to one of the new math teachers there. It kind of made me with I were still teaching there. Of course, I am making more money where I am teaching now, and I don't have to teach as many different classes, but I do have more students to deal with. My girlfriend and I stayed the night at my friend's house there since the party ended after midnight, and we were about an hour and a half from home. Besides, I did have quite a bit of Apple Pucker to drink; it's really good when mixed with Diet Squirt.

This morning, after breakfast at McDonald's (there were too many people waiting at Perkins), we went to the Coral Ridge Mall where I took a picture of a couple of the Herky statues that are scattered about the Iowa City/Coralville area. My girlfriend, the Cyclone fan, didn't seem to bothered by being surrounded by images of "the enemy." The Hayden Fry Herky is pictured here.

After getting back home, I mowed the lawn; it was way past due. I've also been working on writing test items. I have eight more to write before they are due this Wednesday. I need to work on my calculus lesson for tomorrow so I know what I am doing. As I work on the lessons, I am feeling more and more confident about teaching calculus. It's finally coming back to me.



I've been checking Algebra 1 quizzes tonight and decided that I need to take a break. Now's as good a times as any since I just finished one class's tests and I just finished with watching "Charlie X" on my season one DVD set of the original Star Trek series. I've just started watching "The Naked Time," but I digress. Anyway, I am just so frustrated right now! These students can not compute! I mean, how hard is it to add 9.6 and 16? You wouldn't believe how many students put 11.2 for an answer! They lines up the numbers by the rightmost digit instead of by place value. This is really a skill that they should have mastered before completing eighth grade! So now I apparently have to teach skills that my students should already have as well as teach the new skills that I am supposed to be teaching. I guess I should get back to grading. If I keep bitching about these quizzes, it will never get done.

Oh no, someone just died on Star Trek, and it was someone in a blue shirt, not red. Those standard, non-serrated knives sure can be dangerous.


I Just Love the Phone Company

A few days ago, I got a letter from Qwest, which provides both my local phone service and my long distance service, informing me about how they are going to better meet my long distance needs. Apparently, charging me more money is how they will provide me with better service. In the letter I received they said, "In our effort to deliver the best value and remain competitive, Qwest is implementing fees of $2.99 per month that will affect your account beginning October 1, 2004." So, charging me an additional $2.99 per month will give me a better value? In the letter, they do show me how they are a better deal than both the AT&T One Rate 7 Cent Plus Plan and MCI Nationwide, but I can get an even better deal by canceling my long distance altogether and using my cell phone for all of my long distance calls, which is what I have been doing anyway. It was just nice to have the long distance on the landline phone for emergencies.

While I'm at it, maybe I will just disconnect my landline phone completely and go entirely cellular. That seems like a big step though, and I'm just not sure that I am ready to cut the cord.


I Don't Get It

This evening, while watching Last Comic Standing when I should have been writing test items, I just kept shaking my head at comedian Jay London's performance. He had a few funny one-liners, but for the most part his routine just isn't that funny. He always seems to tell some lady in the audience that his routine is almost over. Is it really that funny to apologize that one's show is not funny?


Labor Day

Today was a true Labor Day for me. My girlfriend and I went to her grandmother's house out in the country. We thought we were just going for lunch, but when we got there we discovered that we would be working. My girlfriend's mother claims that she told her that we would be working, but my girlfriend claims never to have received the email. So, I spent much of the day hauling tree branches to a pile to be burned and logs to a separate pile. They too would be burned, but in a fireplace instead. I suppose I could have used the physical labor as my weight was up this morning from where it was yesterday. Having pizza and cheese bread last night probably didn't help me any.

Since getting home early this evening, I haven't done much. I should have been preparing for my calculus class tomorrow, but I will work on that before school.

Selling Stuff

I just sold a CD on Amazon.com. I have been looking through my CD collection and have been trying to get rid of some of the things I don't ever listen to anymore. Apparently, while I don't like to listen to my CD single of Right Said Fred's 1991 hit "I'm Too Sexy," someone must want to, and was willing to pay $6.00 plus shipping in order to do so. Perhaps it's the various shows on VH1 that are making people nostalgic for songs such as this one. "I'm Too Sexy" came in at number 17 on VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever and it was probably also mentioned on I Love the '90s. Hey, it was shows like these that prompted me to seek out the Sir Mix-a-Lot CD Mach Daddy featuring the song "Baby Got Back."


Big Freaking Mall

My girlfriend and I decided to go on a road trip yesterday to West Des Moines where we went to the new Jordan Creek Town Center. Now that was one big mall, but I was good and I only bought one thing (not counting the fudge from the Fudge Factory at Scheel's). That was the Simpson's Monopoly game from Spencer Gifts. I've wanted to get that for a while now, and it was on sale for just ten dollars, so I went ahead and bought it. There were a few store there that I have never been to before, such as the Pottery Barn. I'm sorry, but the entire time I was shopping there, I couldn't help but think about the Friends episode in which Rachel buys a table from the Pottery Barn and tells Phoebe that she got it somewhere else because Phoebe doesn't like the Pottery Barn. They had some really nice stuff, and the priced seemed to me to be quite reasonable. I did not however make any purchases there. We stopped for dinner at Outback Steakhouse. I hadn't been there recently and my girlfriend had never been there. It was good food, but with the Bloomin' Onion, we had too much too eat. However, I still managed to lose two pounds this week!



As I am a high school teacher, I decided I should show some school spirit and go to my school's first football game of the season last night. In recent years our team hasn't been all that good, but we have a new coach this year, so I thought I'd check out how they would do. Well, they got their butts kicked. When my girlfriend and I left at the beginning of the fourth quarter, we were losing 6 to 31 and the opponent must have scored another touchdown after we left because the final score was 6 to 38. While our football team sucks, our award-winning marching band is really good. They put on a great halftime show, and seeing the band perform is probably the best reason to go to the game anyway.


New York Isn't God's Country?

Leon Mosley, an Iowa delegate to the Republican National Convention, has angered many New Yorkers with comments this week which have been interpreted by some to say that New York's is not God's country and that the people there are not patriotic. What he said, which he claims were not meant to apply to all New Yorkers, just some of the protesters was:

I left God's country. They could use a bunch of people from Iowa to come here to show New Yorkers what life is all about, what being patriotic is all about, and what country is all about. I'm as confident about Bush being re-elected as I am that eggs are going to be in New York tomorrow morning.

He didn't say anything at the time that he was referring to a specific group in New York, but he mentions New Yorkers in general. Even if his comment did just refer to a specific group of protesters, who may or may not have been from New York in the first place, does he mean that it is unpatriotic to exercise one's right to protest? I may not agree with the positions of all of those who are protesting, in fact, I think some of them may hurt their causes more than they actually help, but they do have that right. Now, he claims to have been accosted by the protesters, which is not right of them to do, but that doesn't mean that they don't know what life is about or that they are not patriotic.

This comment has so far led at least four individuals from the New York area to write letters to the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier. Hopefully these writers realize that not all Iowans feel this way.

And what is the deal with his comment about eggs?

Marge Was Right

Marge Simpson was right. Monorails are bad. Apparently the new Las Vegas monorail lost a wheel yesterday. Fortunately nobody was injured. This does make me a bit nervous about taking it for a ride the next time I am in Vegas.


Who Do They Think We Are?

I just got done with a faculty meeting. One of the things that was brought up was this new thing we are doing this year. Instead of having homerooms divided grouped by grade level, we are having and advisory group which is made up of a mixture of ninth through eleventh graders.(The twelfth graders have their own group because they have so many "senior" things to do.) We meet once a week and are supposed to use this time to do "group building" activities. That's all good. The students all paired up and learned something about their partner and then shared this with the class. I suppose that's good. It gives the students a sense of belonging, and it insures that they know someone else in the school. Also, as these groups are small, it gives the teacher a chance to more personally relate to a group of students, giving each student at least one adult in the building who they can feel comfortable talking to.

One of the activities we did the other day has me wondering where this is going however. We had to brainstorm a name for our group. Later we are going to be making a banner to put up in our room for our group. Maybe it's just me, but this seems a little too "middle school" for me. I taught middle school, and there is a reason why I don't anymore. One of the reasons was all of the time spent on non-academic activities. I can see spending some time doing non-academic things but with the focus on student achievement that has been placed on us by the No Child Left Behind act, do we really have the time to spend on "feel good" activities? I know that students need to feel like they belong, but we will be spending over 18 hours on this over the course of the school year. That is a lot of lost class time. And, I hate to say this for fear of how it will make me sound, but we did fine when I was in high school without something like this and I am not a fairly well-adjusted individual, but maybe that's just me. Perhaps everyone else is just messed up.