Latest Writings

High School Academic awards night

These girls are power houses. You know they are doing well when you are bit embarrassed by their haul…

Anyway, time for my Proud Parent Dump.. If pride cometh before the fall, I’m in trouble.

Here is the flyer for the night.

Here is the back of the flyer.

Crowd shot.

As you can see, Hannah swept the honors. “Honors Graduate” for having at least a 4.0gpa I believe. “Palmetto Fellows” award from the state of SC, for being in the top 6% of the class, and having a SAT greater than 1300. This comes with a awesome scholarship that essentially pays for college thank you Lord. “NHS”, “Silver fox” academy, for meeting some standard that the school sets for their top students?.. And Mathlete award for being on the Mathlete team.. If I’m not mistaken she was the captain of the team. And a letter and special gift from the head of the math department, Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith was Hannah’s special mentor and champion.. without her, I don’t know if Hannah would have been able to navigate the politics of school. Heck, I don’t know if I would have been able to. We have a lot to be thankful for for just that one person.

Hannah will wear the NHS stole and the combination Honors Scholar and Silver fox tassel at graduation. She also was recognized for tutoring all 4 years of High school. Melinda and Hannah are the only students that have tutored as freshmen so far, and Mrs Smith has recognized them as such.

I mean, Even Melinda pulled in 4 separate awards.. freshmen are not supposed to do that.. lol. (I am pretty confident that besides the Beta inductees, there were less than a half dozen freshmen that received anything else at all.)
Melinda received recognition for Being in Beta club, and she also was recognized for being one of the 4 school tutors. (My daughters represented 50% of the tutor staff! lol) She was also inducted into the Spanish Languages Honors Society, and received an award for the highest grade in the science honors class.

Seriously, these girls are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Posted on 11 May '16 by , under Awards, school. No Comments.

So many blessings.

I see the pain in the world, and I wonder why I am so blessed.
I am thankful above most else…

Things to be thankful for:
Melinda won FIRST place in a regional school poetry contest held by the library! >170 something entries.
She won with her poem titled: “Glass cake stand”.
I see why it won, it was awesome. One I hope she keeps with her over time.

Here she is reading it at the awards banquet:

Hannah received a full scholarship to Winthrop University in Rock Hill SC! It’s a popular SC Liberal Arts school, and She was accepted into the Honors College. That comes with special housing and privileges I hear. I must say, Hannah has worked hard for a long time, I am glad she was rewarded with that scholarship! I am very proud of her, and excited to see what she does in the future! She has doe a good job at making good choices.. again, Blessed.

Speaking of Pride, Melinda asked me to print a school project for her. I always like doing this, because I like seeing what she is doing. This was a special report concerning Fahrenheit 451. She was to associate the characters with something. She associated songs to them. Read this, and check out these songs.. I am impressed with her musical tastes, let alone the associations. She puts this much energy into everything she does it seems.. There is no wonder why she is doing so well in school. (I would be shocked if her class rank is not 5 or better.)
Anyway, I want to show you this report:

“Good ‘N’ Evil”- Jekyll & Hyde
This song represents the reasoning of Beatty. Some of the lyrics are, “Men have argued through history, as well they should! My philosophy, any child can see – good is evil, and therefore all evil is good.” You could compare this to books having knowledge which many see as good, but it is, according to Beatty, bad because of all the people who could get offended by it. Some might think taking away the books is evil, but Beatty sees this “evil” as a “good” thing for the people. The song also says “Good is commendable – Evil’s dependable! Evil is viable – Good’s unreliable!” This shows Beatty’s thoughts that books may be “commendable” sometimes, but when it comes to making everyone happy, it is very unreliable whereas “evil” or not having books will always be “reliable” and “viable”.

“I was Born a Dreamer”- SHEL
I chose this song to represent Clarisse. A few of the lyrics are, “I was born a dreamer, a wide eyed believer in things unseen. I was born a dreamer, oh say you believe in me.” This shows Clarisse as a dreamer who thought things could be different. She noticed things that others didn’t. She also wanted Montag to believe her when she told him her thoughts on everything going on around them. The lyrics, “We may change the world if only we believe,” also adds to the fact that she thinks something isn’t right and should be changed.

“Ways to go”- Grouplove
I chose this song to represent Faber. The lyrics, “I didn’t ask for this. You give me heart attack. I didn’t want to care, and then I saw you there,“ represents when Montag shows up at Faber’s home and asks him to help, and how it stresses him out. “I got a ways to go,” is repeated many times throughout the song. This shows how Faber knows that they have a long way to go before things get better, but things are changing despite how long it is taking. “Been working like a dog. I turned all my dreams off. I didn’t know my name. I didn’t know my name.” This represents how he had to let go of what made him happy in fear of getting in trouble. It is, however, in past tense, because when Montag showed up, things changed, and he could finally be himself.

“Burn”- New Politics (swear word)
This song represents the mechanical hound. The lyrics, “Let’s burn this down let’s burn it down,” show how all it thinks about is destroying, because that is what it is programed to do. The word “burn” is repeated many times throughout the song. There aren’t many other lyrics other than that, showing how the mechanical hound doesn’t feel; it only “burns” or destroys. This is because it doesn’t have that capability to feel. It can only do what it was told.

“Car Radio”- Twenty One Pilots
I chose “Car Radio” to represent Mildred. One of the lyrics is, “Cause somebody stole my car radio and now I just sit in silence.” This shows how without the things that she constantly distracts herself with, Mildred doesn’t know what to do, so she just sits there in silence. One line of the song says, “There is no distraction to mask what is real.” This shows that deep down, Mildred knows that she is unhappy and uses distractions to cover that up, but the sadness subconsciously finds its way through, like when she almost killed herself. The lyrics, “Oh dear, I don’t know if we know why we’re here. Oh my, Too deep. Please stop thinking. I liked it better when my car had sound,” show that she doesn’t even want to think. She likes much more when she has her TV to distract her from everything, and she thinks that it is making her happy.

I chose the song “I am not a Robot” to represent Montag. The lyrics, “Better to be hated than loved, loved, loved for what you’re not.” This shows how Montag realizes that he would rather risk himself getting punished for doing something that he feels strongly about than sitting back and doing nothing. The lyrics, “Guess what? I’m not a robot,” represent how Montag isn’t going to be the conforming “robot” that everyone wants him to be. He is going to think for himself instead of being told what to do. “Don’t be so pathetic, just open up and sing,” are lyrics that show how he justs wants to express what he truly feels, which is that he doesn’t agree with what society is doing.

“Burn the Witch”- Radiohead
I chose this song to represent the woman in the burning house. I chose this song mainly for the lyrics, “Burn the witch. Burn the witch. We know where you live.” The “witch” represents how most people saw the burning woman. She was nothing more than a crazy witch to most of the people. They obviously didn’t see her as a normal person, because they easily killed her with no remorse, with the exception of Montag. The others didn’t really try to get her to leave, because they really didn’t care if she stayed in there or not. Another line in the song is, “Avoid all eye contact. Do not react.” This shows how when Montag tried to get her out, she didn’t move. She stayed their with all of her burning books.

I am blessed.

Posted on 8 May '16 by , under Awards, school. No Comments.

Spring has sprung, and Thurber has been found!

Time is going by so fast! I can’t keep up. Half the things that happen I have not even mentioned here.

Melinda came up to me excited and said “Do you know who James Thurber is??” And I did not. I knew the name, but did not know why.. Turns out he was a artist and writer 50 years ago. She said “You must check this guy out, he’s awesome! I found a book about him in the little library outside… I’m going to stalk his whole life!” All While hugging the book… lol.. Anyway, I looked him up and read some of his quotes. I started to read one of them out loud “Women are wiser than men..” she interrupted me at this point and said it from memory “Women are wiser than men because they know less and understand more”. I guess Thurber has found a new fan!.. 🙂


Melinda has a friend visiting for the night, Emily. Emily and Melinda are friends from school. They have most of the same honors classes together. I am confident they are both in the top 10 of their class, probably higher. Anyway, they hung out outside today for a little while with some chalk.

It’s obviously a butterfly, but i called it a coffee cup.


The whale that sprayed up on the fence.


The huge chalk bunny.


Rockwell and I finally broke open the Geode that we had gotten this winter in Maggie Valley. It was much nicer inside than I expected!


This Thursday Rockwell and I went to the BMX track to get some practice in.. we have not been as actuive this year so far, and need to get going.. I was practicing jumps, and the very last time I jumped, heading for the car, I endo-ed big time and landed on my head and shoulder. I thought I broke something, but I think at this point its just banged up.. I feel like It should be back to normal in a week or two hopefully. Just pulled some muscles. I went to the local pharmacy to get a sling, and was reminded how cool my little town is. I can still spend a penny!


Anyway, I have been riding a lot lately.. Here is a early AM picture of my bike (a specialized “rockhopper”) at the lock/dam at sunrise.


And Young Makers this week, we made some more little libraries! A church wanted on, and someone wanted to put one in a park in a poor neighborhood. Works for me! The kids liked working on them too.. Using the nailgun and whatnot.


Today Hannah was in Atlanta for another band performance. After that, they went to 6 flags over Georgia I believe.
Anyway, last night she texted me and said “Our hotel is officially ridiculous!”.. And I replied “In a good way I hope”.. and she replied “Our room has two tv’s and a kitchenette!” and then said “the whole place is like that” and forwarded this picture.
Yep, that is pretty nice! 🙂

Posted on 23 April '16 by , under Activities, BMX, Friends, makerspace. No Comments.

Random and catch-up

OK, need to add more to this..

Here is a good picture of the girls in Charleston with Kathi.


A couple of Hannah’s senior pictures!




Hmm. I don’t think I mentioned that I did a TEDx talk.. “Our future is Awesome!” Rick Mckee, a syndicated political cartoonist drew a picture representing my talk. Pretty cool!


Hmm.. most of my pics are at work.. Ill have to add more tomorrow. 🙂

Posted on 23 March '16 by , under Events. No Comments.

Hannah’s new pet

We visited Columbia yesterday. Melinda, Hannah, and I went to the “Columbia Repticon” Reptile show. Boy where there a lot of snakes there. (Along with a lot of odd turtles for some reason..)

But Hannah talked me into another pet.

A spider.

It just so happens it’s natural color matches Rockwell’s hair.


Posted on 7 February '16 by , under pets. No Comments.

Skiing in Maggie Valley NC.

We (Rockwell, Hannah and I.. Melinda did not want to go for some reason) went skiing this weekend to Maggie Valley and the cataloochee ski area Actually.. snowboarding. We all learned to snowboard. It was AWESOME. I can say that I actually got it down enough to go down one of the black diamonds. I’m not good, but I clearly was not the worst. Hannah made it down once without ever falling… even if 25% of it was braking. (what I call the board being perpendicular to the slope.. I don’t know the lingo’..) We really had fun. We went with youth from Holy Trinity Lutheran to “Lake Junaluska”. 13 of us total, 11 kids and two chaperons. The kids were.. different. More on that later.


I think Rockwell had the most fun of anyone. He did not want to leave. He was the first on the slopes, wouldn’t take a break, and was the very last person to leave of all the kids. And even then he was not happy that he had to stop. He said “I think I want to do this professionally!” and that is before he even really knows how to rock it. We will clearly be back to do it again. This time with Melinda. 🙂


I would have more pictures and even video… if I had not lost my phone. 🙁 That was the only bummer of the trip.

I have two observations:
Ok, so about these kids.
“When I was young…” Social status was primary. I remember getting into a group like this, and all the kids wanted to know was who was boss, and what the pecking order was. Really, when I look back on it, our lives were ruled by this dynamic. Even as you got older.. jobs were available because you knew someone… or not available because you did not.

These kids? They really could not care less. The older ones hung out with the younger ones, Some of them just hung out or didn’t, depending on a mood. It was really pretty amazing. On the trip there, during the trip, and on the trip home, I feel like they were LESS of a burden than 13 Adults would have been, and I’m not kidding about that. They were nothing but prompt, polite, and self sufficient. (as long as there was food available.. lol) They said, we would like to walk to the church” when it was church time, and they were back in the meeting place when the skiing was over. (OK, they were worn out and there before they were even supposed to be.. 🙂 ) Get this.. It was a 250 mile trip there, and a 250 mile trip home… 13 people in the van. You know how many times we stopped? twice. And when I say twice… I mean once each way. I was driving. You know who asked to stop? No one.. I had to stop to pee.
Were their noses in their phones? Of course. And I don’t care.
These kids are going to make SOOO MUCH better adults than we EVER were its not even funny.

Good on you kids. The future is going to be awesome. and you are going to make it that way.

People are SO MUCH more honest these days, so much more, that its making commerce easier, and cheaper for all of us.
Do you remember back 30 years ago going skiing? The paperwork you had to fill out to rent skis, then when you returned them they had to cross check and make sure you were returning the right ones and they loved charging you late fees and such? Those days are LONG GONE. We rented skis, and they simply wanted your liability form. they handed you the skis, (or board) and boots, adjusted them slightly, and you were on your way. When you returned them? “Put them in the stack over there and have a good day.” No accounting whatsoever. I think they realized that 99% of people return them, and the cost of saving a percent did not make it worth the time lost to account for it, or the customers lost to hassle. same thing with the rental trailer we used for bags, the guy did not even open it up to see if it was clean. he met me at the gate in the van, had a handheld, punched in the code on the trailer, and said, “any problems?” I said no, he as 60$ you want to put it on the card on record? I said yes, he handed me a receipt, and I was out of there in 5 minutes. Astounding really. 30 years ago they would have had to have had a checklist of damage and inspected the inside and it just would not have gone that smooth. people are better people today than they were before. simple as that.

Posted on 18 January '16 by , under Events, Holidays. No Comments.

Christmas Crash

I got the chance to ride the greeneway with a friend. I guess I was a little excited, because I was not paying the attention I know I should at the treacherous wood bridge.. (that bridge has gotten me twice before while I was running). It was in the morning before the sun burned off the dew, and the bridge was slick.. the front wheel went right out on me, and I was in clipless shoes. I was more mad than hurt though… Mad that I allowed it to happen, and SUPER mad that I was not wearing gloves! That said, I’m 51, and I got up and all that was wrong was I was missing a bunch of skin. I even finished the ride, along with a couple PR times! 🙂
Here is the leg.. but my palm was the worst for it… arrg.


But Hey, I did 14 more miles after the crash, so it must not have been that bad.


Posted on 29 December '15 by , under Activities. No Comments.

Aluminum and water beads

After making sculptures with Ant hills, we stumbled across this one.. pouring aluminum into water beads! Works surprisingly well.




And here is the process:

Posted on 28 December '15 by , under Activities, kids, projects. No Comments.

Sugar season, a cache, and an anachronism.

Arthur Shealy invited us to crush some sugar cane again this year! I drug Dale with me.


Starting the boiling process. I swear Arthur, if you allow that cane juice into the pot without being finely strained one more time….


The kids seem to like going geocaching… at night. Here is one in the woods.


Rockwell played “Joe” in the Christmas play this year. “youre WHAT??” the funniest line of the night.


Rockwell also played with the high schoolers at the North Augusta Christmas tree lighting.


Rockwell found a friend. She was trying to convince him to attend NAHS, and join band.


Can you spot the anachronisms? I see three of them! They all still work too!


Posted on 17 December '15 by , under Events, Uncategorized. 3 Comments.

Don Trump Rally today!

The girls wanted to go to a Trump rally in Aiken today. No doubt he has some support in Aiken! LOTS of people there to support him.


Melinda, mid reaction to something he said.. too funny!


My favorite sign of the whole rally. There were a couple groups of people that caused a fuss, but nothing major, AND Trump actually said; “I dont mind the protesters.. we all should be protesting more!”. That response supried me a tad.


The girls got bored half way through and decided to join a small contingent of “protesters” out front. I love the guy dressed like a communist! My favorite chant was them saying the pledge of allegiance to the flag, and at the end repeating “And liberty and justice for all! And liberty and justice for all!”


Posted on 12 December '15 by , under Events. No Comments.