Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This isn't Kansas Anymore Toto

I couldn't let the landmark event from the Wizard of Oz go without a mention.

Today's weather forecast: Rain? Yes. Thunderstorms? Likely. Hail? Probable. Tornado??????????????? YES???!!!

Apparently a tornado touched down in various locations throughout Orange County today. You can read more about our weird weather here.

Following the tornado, a National Weather Advisory Warning blew through Orange County Schools like a..., well, like a tornado. The warning was prompted by an uncharacteristic storm moving through the area..., and perhaps this incredibly trendy street embellishment had a little something to do with it, no?
(Photo borrowed from the Orange County Register)

SIDEBAR: Sunset Beach residents certainly have a flare for the dramatic (smile).

I know this because at some point between English and Science class a very unfriendly all-school alert came blaring from the PA system:

Will all students and teachers return to their classrooms. Do not proceed to PE. Do not go to the library. Return to your classrooms immediately and close your doors.

Here's the trivia question for the day: What do you get when you cross an all-school alert to close doors and stay away from windows with a classroom full of mischievous elementary school kids? Well, if you're playing along at home and you guessed a wave of curious faces suctioned cupped to the nearest available glass, then you win the gold star for the day. My students were so eager to get a glimpse at whatever transpired outside my window, that they completely ignored all cautionary warnings and vied for any Hot-Cheetos-scented, fog-covered spot they could find at the pane.

No actual images of the phantom twister surfaced on the web, so I asked students to describe what they remembered from their own first-hand experiences.

One account of note, reported lots of flying debris, and a young lady wearing red sparkly shoes and carrying a little dog.

On a serious note Californians don't see weather like this too often, so find a comprehensive list of tornado safety tips here.

Clearly, the site's credibility can be measured more by what's missing from the safety tips, rather than what's included in them. Noticeably absent from among the suggestions are oldies but goodies:
  1. clicking your heels together three times
  2. and saying, "There's no place like home."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pressure

When I posted the previous blog, Don't Quit back in October, there was no way for me to predict how frequently I would need to cleave to the principles espoused in those 24 lines of text.

I've been overwhelmed by a lot of pressure over the last four months. I've juggled family, spiritual growth, work, school*, and personal time, which is to say nothing of efforts to wrap my brain around the sheer insanity of the crisis currently plaguing our world. Juggling it all is like juggling heirloom ornaments. With so much going on in my life, some things were bound to drop. Sadly, my spiritual life and my blog were among the casualties and a palpable difference in the quality of my life resulted. I ran on empty, suffered from the damage (most notably an energy deficiency), and am now reflecting on the lessons I've taken away from the experience.

That brings me to point of this post. What you're about to watch is a science demonstration vlog carried out in class last week. It is a great metaphor for my recent bankrupt life. Here we're learning about basic scientific principles related to air pressure. What you don't see in the video is the third investigation, where students decided to reduce the water content inside the can to one teaspoon. The impact was far greater than that of the first trial. Imagine me in place of the Pepsi can.

video


I've slowly started to progress towards regaining balance, having a healthy caution about extremes, and re-establishing my personal time with God. Thank you to those of you who have (virtually) stopped by from time to time to offer an encouraging word. I realize that my problems pale in comparison to the tragedies faced by countless others. I have a blessed life; the problem is I want more. I want to feel like I am truly living my life and not just surviving, and I don't want to sacrifice my spiritual life on the altar of professional gain.

*I enrolled in Cal State Fullerton's Master Program last Fall.

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