Wednesday, October 21, 2009

By the Numbers

While reading Wesley Fryer blog he spoke about a widget that Gary Hayes made that is a "clock" that tracks in real time the growth of social media on the web. Some of the numbers are very impressive. In the 300 seconds that I have been logged on to his blog there have been 815,983,251 emails sent globally. 2730 new members of Facebook. $73,980 spent on virtual goods, that is paying something for nuthin'.
If you have not started exploring social media you will be quickly left behind.

in reference to:

- Gary's Social Media Count | PERSONALIZE MEDIA (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hat Day

This looks like a fun assignment. I'll have to get some of my parents to bring in old hats for the kids to use.

in reference to: Hat Day - Art Education 2.0 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Georgia O'Keeffe in Google Earth

Came across this lesson in the Teaching Pallette using Google Earth to show the life of Georgia O'Keeffe. This is a great way to use Google Earth. On the web page there is also an embedded KLM viewer. KLM is the Google Earth file type and this allows visitors to the web page to also see an interactive Google Earth window.I have got to try this.

in reference to: Georgia O’Keeffe in Google Earth : The Teaching Palette (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


New shiny object.
I have found that not only parents but teachers and administrators are taken with having the newest and slickest technology in their classrooms without thought to training and how the technology will transform the classroom. Teachers at my school all want documents cameras and interactive whiteboards but many that have been installed are used for no more than expensive whiteboards and overhead projectors. But for some as time goes by and they become comfortable with the technology they begin to use it for more. But I think with proper training and mentoring and the time to do those things more teachers would hit the ground running with these technologies.
Last year when we installed a dozen SmartBoards at our school the classroom set up did not allow easy access to the the SmartBoard by the students but I have noticed this year that teachers are changing their classrooms around so students can more easily access the interactive board.

in reference to: Interactive technology access does not guarantee good teaching and learning » Moving at the Speed of Creativity (view on Google Sidewiki)

Google Tool Bar?

OK I wanted to try Google Sidewiki but I'm not so sure about the tool bar.

in reference to: Google Sidewiki (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Fun

This summer I have been playing more with online social networks and PLC. Most of the tools I am exploring are ones that I have been using but now I'm trying out new ways to use them.

For example the image to the left is a screen shot of my Seesmic desktop. This utility allows me to better organize, sort and search my Twitter account. Using this I am able to follow "friends" who are attending the NECC this week. Using this tool I am able to learn about workshops and lectures that they are attending as well as ask the attendies questions about their experiances there.
I have also been discovering new ways to use Flickr. I can follow other users and see what they are posting as well as comment on the images. I have added as Flickr friends some of my Twitter friends and with this I can follow through both words and images what they are doing at NECC. That is pretty cool, next year maybe I'll go.
I have been using Flickr this year to document an image for every day of the year and through that I have met a few new Flickr friends throught their comments on my photos.
Now I have noticed that FaceBook has created a link between my "Whats on your mind?" on facebook and my blog. This is in addition to the to Twitter and Flickr link on FaceBook.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Google Wave

Wow, This will be something.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Picture a day

I have been taking a picture a day since the first of January without missing a day. Yesterday a took a picture that I'm not sure that I can post on flickr. Not because of the content but because of the way the image is created.
I just discovered a Microsoft site that allows you to have a group of images combined into one "Synth". With this you can use your mouse to move around an area. I did one of my classroom.

You have to upload a small viewing program which to me is a drawback but other than that it is pretty cool.

Friday, May 15, 2009


OK I can finally write about something my wife and I have been working on for about 9 months. No it's not a baby. But it was for my baby.
As you may know we have taken up quilting but we did it for a particular reason. My daughter Jessica is getting married this weekend and when she and Jarod announced their engagement a year or so ago we decided to give them a memory quilt. I looked into having one made and WOW were they expensive. I thought "shoot I could make one cheaper than that!" So Jan and I took a class in quilt making and set out to make them one.
Last September we picked out fabric and sent out fabric squares to friends and family that indicated they would participate. We asked that they put some type of memory of Jessica or Jarod or the couple on the square and then send to back to us by January 31. That would give Jan and I three months to put it together.05-10-09
Well the last pieces did not arrive till the end of March with one coming much later than that.
We gave Jessica and Jarod the quilt yesterday at a picnic in their honor. They loved it and Jan and I are very happy to be able to give to them what will become part of their history.
Oh and the late square, that was from my brother and it received a place of honor on the back making this a two sided quilt!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Doormet Gourmet Delivery

I have a friend who blogs about food so I thought I'd give it a crack.
Tonight I stopped at a place down the street called Doormet Gourmet Delivery. It is an interesting place, very urban. The decor is minimal, black glossy chairs, wood tables, tecno club music playing.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. On the counter was freshly baked garlic flatbread and according to the gentleman behind the counter was made from the same dough as the pizzas. The owner explained that he and his brother worked on perfecting the dough for a year. It was very good.
The menu offered fresh salads, pressed sandwiches, pastas, fried rice, and brick oven pizza. It was hard to choose, I ordered a sizzling steak sandwich, marcala pasta with grilled spicy Italian sausage and the southwest fried rice.
05-11-09_1748 We split the sandwich 3 ways and shared the other . All the dishes were very good and there is enough of the marsala left over for lunch.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Paid it Foward

Almost two weeks ago I read a post on Snippety Gibbet about the idea of paying it forward. You reply to a post and then make the same offer on your blog. In return you receive a gift. This offer seems to be traveling around the craft and art blogs.
I had to jump on that because I had been reading Snippety Gibbet for quite a while and I knew that she is very creative and that her gift would be something interesting.
Today a box arrived in the mail. Bo and I were very excited!
So I rushed inside to open it up. Wow, bubble wrap the tension was palatable. Bo could hardly stand it.
So I peeled back the bubble wrap and there I was looking back at me!It also came with a variety of outfits,
Lederhosen Me.

Pirate Me.
Before Jan came home I found a place of honor for the portrait of me. Jan suggested I hang it in my classroom, what's up with that?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pay It Foward

My RSS feed has close to 200 blogs that I try and read. This is becoming close to impossible to do while holding a full time job. And so far I haven't found a way to make a living being a full time blog reader. So I've started to create sub folders. And then sub-sub folders.
This is a reply to a blog that has made the cut to that rarefied group, Snippety Gibbet. I enjoy reading this blog because it is a connection to a world of art and crafting as well as a bike ride or two. Today the post was on "Paying it Foward" This is kinda like one of those pesky chain letters or emails. But rather than something dire happening to me if I did not follow the instructions of sending it on the post came with a promice of a mystery gift made by the author of the post.
OK I was intrigued with this so I followed the thread back on her post. This lead me to "Pink Feather Paradise" and from there I was lead to "The ramblings of an everday mummy" . Both of these blogs are very cool craft and such blogs.

Well here is what this is all about.....
Here's the "official" part I lifted from her blog: "The first three people to leave a comment will receive a hand made gift from me
the only thing you have to do is participate and carry on the gift giving to three more people...
as soon as you have left a comment do a "pay it forward post" on your blog and continue the giving.
I will contact the first three comentee's to get their addresses."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Green Friday

Most times I have blogged in the past it has been an exercise in personal reflection or something has my dander up. This is different, like an assignment, sort of.

OK, a green classroom/art program.

At first I could not think of ways that that my art class was green. With the number of students I teach we run through quite a bit of paper and the sharpeners on the tables grind through a forest of pencils. But we do have a recycling program at our school so some of that paper ends up in the recycle bin and the kids are not using electricity with the hand sharpeners (plus getting a little exercise).

So I started looking around my room to see what I do that could be considered “green”. First I noticed this pile of cardboard that I pulled out of the dumpster a while back. I used these as part of a descriptive drawing lesson.

Next I saw my buckets of recycled clay. I only buy clay 2 of every 3 years. On the third year I use all the scraps from the previous years. This also helps my budget. I also help my budget by collecting crayons that are broken. Often classroom teacher have boxes of broken crayons at the end of the year that they would throw out If I did not collect them. I always tell the kids that crayons are one of the few things that work just as well broken as whole.

All of the small containers that I use on the tables are recycled. Plastic cups and plastic food containers. All different shapes and sizes. I even have some plastic cafeteria style plates and bowls that I saved when the district stopped using washable dishes and went to throwaway Styrofoam trays.

Many of the tools I use in the art room are recycled. Recycling seems to be a natural part of the creative process, seeing something new in an object. One of my students favorite projects are the Art Rockets. In this project we recycle plastic into rockets that we then blast off.

Our district has gone green with the art curriculum in recommending a digital version of the art textbooks we use. These take up a lot less space and no trees are cut down for them. Just 5 CDs.

On a personal art note this year I am creating a picture a day and posting them on Flickr. 365 images in this project and no paper, film or chemicals are used. I’m not sure how this project will be shown at our yearly teacher art show. But the way technology changes I’m sure by then I’ll have a way to display them.

Now if I could only figure out how to recycle minutes so I would have more time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Blog

I have been quiet for awhile on "Blissfull Thoughts" because I have been doing a photo blog on Flickr. As I previously stated on Saturday, January 3, 2009 I have challenged myself to post a photo a day. Some days this is quite a challenge because I have also made the requirement of myself that I create the photo I post on the day I post it. I usually think about the photo while driving in my car so I have a few photos in and around my car. Some days it is easy and ideas for images just happen other days it is a struggle. but so far I have been able to keep up with my challenge. I have also found that when posting the image It is easier to find something to blog about.
Interestingly enough most of the images I have been posting were taken with my camera phone. Probably because I have it with me and It is really simple to use. The photo of the pipes below was taken with the phone on the right.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Getting it free no more

Well after 17 years the big antenna is coming down. Yes the Blisses are getting cable. Our kids grew up in a house without cable. I'm surprised that the authorities didn't come to our house with accusations of child abuse. Right now I'm looking at the Verizon truck in our front yard and wondering what it will be like with hundreds of channels. It may be too many to choose from.
The roof looks kinda empty with our the big antenna it was a landmark.
Now I wonder if anything good is on TV?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hovering Helicopters

The SuperBowl is in town and the fun has started. The stadium is only a few miles from my house and I could see the helicopters hovering over the NFL Experience this afternoon. There were three and the only thing going on that I know of is the NFL gift shop is open and the NFL Experience which is a field full of football like games for the kids. Traffic is terrible around the stadium and the surrounding area. As the games gets closer I will probably be trapped in my house.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

365 day 25

I have been photographing and posting a photograph a day for the last 25 day. I try and force myself during the day to create an image of find a moment that should be preserved. Some days it is easy others I forget till late in the evening and have to come up with something.
I have been using my cell phone camera for many of the images. It is quick and I always have it with me. I am going to start using the images as part of my blog because I'm having difficulty finding time for both so I might as well combine them.
Today's photo is of my daughter Jessica and her fiance Jared.
They came to Tampa this weekend for a quick visit and for Jessica and her mother Jan to go over some plans for her wedding. Jared is learning to tread carefully when offering his opinion about any thing related to the wedding. Good for him that talent will serve him well in marriage.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Off Line

Last Sunday I was checking the times that "24" came on and on the search result page I saw a site of Jack Bauer jokes. I should have known better.... This is what popped up next. Then page after page of ads started appearing on my page. Ooh pull the plug switch off the computer too late the damage was done.
I first tried running several virus, spyware ect ... programs that I have. Then I did research on the site that was the start of this. It appeared that there was no cure for the problem. I kept my computer off-line and tried to work the problem but every time I connected back on-line the windows would start popping up.
Aarg!!! Next I tried logging on as another user and as an local administrator on the computer. Oooh no problem, humm the issue was just with my profile on this computer. Ok I can solve this, just delete the problem user, me.
Fortunately I have been very careful as of late to be backing everything up in multiple locations. All of my bookmarks are stored on Foxmarks my photos on Flickr and music on an external hard drive and server.
This wasn't as bad as having my computer just flat out crash but I figure that even if that had happened I still would not have lost very much except time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oh! those darn kids, what are we to do?

Last Friday I read April Griffins blog “Things we used to teach our children...” and It really got me thinking.
First whether we, as teachers should be teaching manners and civility in the classroom. I have come to the conclusion that the answer is no. Should we demand civility and good manners from students? YES. But not spend valuable class time teaching it. I then thought about how my children learned manners. And I think it was from many people.

We were lucky that our children had many kind and loving people in their lives.
When they were young and went to day care we had “Big Mama and Big Daddy” take care of them. These two were great Big Daddy had retired from the military and some how talked his wife Dig Mama into opening a day care in their home.
Big Mama was the drill sergeant and Big Daddy was a big teddy bear, the kids loved it. And in their home my kids learned how to be friends with others and to play nice. They still have friends from that time.

Our church also played a big part in the lives of our children. Mrs. Flossie ran the childrens ministry and she taught the kids the power of a quiet voice. No one acted up in her Sunday school. If they did they were quietly but firmly redirected. My son was redirected often.
As my children became older they were Acolytes at our church and that taught them poise before a crowd.

My children were also involved in Scouts, both Boy and Girl Scouts. I think Scouts taught them that there is a time and a place for everything. My son went on in Scouts to become an Eagle Scout, a very proud moment in both our lives.
My daughter worked in high school at the YMCA and there she learned how to work pleasantly with other even if they really pissed you off.

Did my wife and I teach them anything? I hope so but probably not as much as we would have hoped. But we did provide as stable home environment as we could. Do I think that a school could have taught them to become the fine young adults they are. No it is too big a responsibility for one group or organization to handle

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

Ok I’m a few days behind. With Christmas break and all I’m just taking it easy.

So did everyone make a New Years Resolution? In the past I have made ones that were relatively unattainable: loose weight, make more money, grow hair, and others that well after a week or two lost their attraction.

So this year I decided to do a resolution that WAS attainable, one that I could and would do.

Take, post and comment on Flickr a photo each day for a year. I’ve seen and read of others that have taken on this project and most have said that it was a fun way to explore their lives. We will see. So follow me on my Flickr site and I’m sure some of the photos will be commented on here in this blog.


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