Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Dark Side of the Rainbow

This week we watched a short clip of The Wizard of Oz in AVID. I asked the students to consider who might play the parts of the characters in the movie in their life. It was a nice writing assignment and some students did an excellent job of coming up with comparison, simile, and metaphor.

We discussed a bit in my AVID II sophomore class that some have thought it odd how the Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and the Wizard of Oz seem to go together. You start both at the very beginning and turn the sound down on the movie and the sound up on the album. I thought I'd post a few of the similarities here. We obviously don't have time in class to get into all that there. :)

Wikipedia says this: "When the album is played simultaneously with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, numerous images from the film appear to synchronize with the music and lyrics. All band members (save Roger Waters) and engineer Alan Parsons have firmly stated that the phenomenon is a coincidence. This effect has often been called Dark Side of the Rainbow. Arguably, playing any two media together will produce an impression of a striking amount of coincidence (an effect known as apophenia)."

Rolling Stone did a quick Video Mashup of the coincidences: Dark Side of Oz! Pretty neat.

Here is the very beginning of the movie in sync with the album:

According to this author, here are the similarities:
Here are some interesting parallels that we've noticed over the years. As I said, I've tried to keep this list to the more striking moments. An internet search will turn up dozens more.

-First and foremost - take a look at the cover of the album. It's white light exploding into color, just as the films moves from black and white into color.

-In Breathe, the lyrics say "balanced on the biggest wave," as Dorothy balances carefully on a piece of wood.

-The piercing bells of Time begin just as the Wicked Witch of the West appears on her bicycle (it's pretty chilling if synced correctly).

-The lyrics say "home, home again, I like to be here when I can," as Dorothy contemplates heading back to the farm.

-Great Gig in the Sky begins as Dorothy's house goes up into the tornado. The wails of Clare Torry, the female vocalist, crescendo and decrescendo as Dorothy sails up into the sky, and then back down again. Again, it's pretty chilling. Also, Great Gig in the Sky is an interesting title for a song with no lyrics - They could have called it anything. Why something so reminiscent of Dorothy's situation?

-Then, in what is probably the most amazing feature of the sync, if your CD and movie are lined up just right, Dorothy opens the door to the world of color just as the cash register opens in Money. It's pretty amazing. And interesting that Money is the song playing while we are introduced to a world made of gold.

-Sometimes, it seems the munchkins dance to the rhythm of Money; though that may be stretching a bit.

-In Us and Them, the lyrics say "black and blue, and who knows which is which, and who is who," as the camera switches from the Wicked Witch (black) to Dorothy (in a blue dress). Did they mean "which is which" or "witch is witch?"

-In the same song, the lyrics say "up and down, but in the end it's only round and round," which is exactly what happened to Dorothy's house.

-It's interesting that the title of next song, Any Colour You Like, references "color." Again, it's an instrumental that could have been given any title.

-The next song is called Brain Damage - and we meet the "brainless" Scarecrow.

-In Brain Damage, the lyrics say "the lunatic is on the grass," as the Scarecrow, who's made of straw (grass), dances around.

-The song Eclipse ends with a thudding heartbeat, as Dorothy listens to the Tin Man's chest in search of a heartbeat.

What do you think? Coincidence??? Silliness??? Neat? Stupid?

Car Accident

I wanted to give everyone an update. Mr. Duez will be back on Tuesday. I am suffering from some headaches, back, neck and shoulder strain... but I am walking ok and I believe I should be back to work on Tuesday. I really missed class on Friday with you guys.

Well, Thursday was a tough day. We left our house around 5:30pm and headed off to have Italian at a new place in Kingwood. We pulled out of our village and headed up a two lane street. There was a truck in the lane coming towards us and he suddenly turned left onto a side street and plowed right into us. Very scary.

There was nothing I could do. I slammed on the brakes as he hit us. It was almost simultaneous. He had no turn signal on. And there was just no indication in my mind that he would ever try that turn. After hitting us, he also rammed into a lady who was stopped at that street and about to turn onto the same lane we were traveling in. I immediately got out and checked on Norma and Aidan. He cried for about 10 or 15 minutes which we were panicking and worrying about him. Once he calmed down we realized he was fine. He had some strap marks across his chest and shoulders and that was it.

The car was totaled. My right front passenger side made impact first on his right front passenger side of his Chevy Truck. Again this just shows there was no way I could have avoided him. It's not like I clipped the end of the bed of his truck or something as he crossed into our lane.

Our car spun with the back end pulling around and into the lane he was coming from. It jerked us around pretty good. I know my middle back is aching because of that twist and torque. Norma injured her ankle, which probably struck and was pinned by my seat. She was seated behind me. Aidan was in the back in the passenger side. Believe me, we are so pleased with our car seat that protected Aidan: Britax Marathon - worth every penny.

Luckily for us there was a cop in the car behind the guy that plowed into us. He jumped out of the car after calling the accident in and reporting it. The guy who hit us in the truck looked at the officer and said, "I never saw them." The officer said, "How the hell could you NOT have seen them! What's wrong with you!" It was nice to not have to yell at anyone, he was doing a good job of it for me.

In a matter of minutes there were at least 20 neighbors around us. Lots of them said they heard the crash from their homes. One lady brought ice for Norma's ankle and water for all of us. The police arrived and took our statements. They explained that they issued a citation to the driver of the truck and they gave me the insurance information.

In 38 years I have NEVER had an accident. I know I have been lucky... but I am an excellent driver. Our car was paid off in January! That really, really sucks that we will now have a car payment.

Today was spent in the emergency clinic for about 3 hours getting checked out. Norma has bumps and bruises all over and a badly sprained ankle. She's limping pretty good on it... but I am trying to keep her from walking on it. I have back, shoulder, and neck pain. My left knee is also bugging me. So we know we'll have a few weeks of discomfort ahead of us.

After the doctor we brought on more pain by meeting with our insurance claims agent. She verified that the driver of the truck had insurance through All-State and that our claim should be against them since he was at fault. She said they would be contacting me. I've never gone through this before. But, I am tempted to get some type of lawyer. We can not afford to be screwed around here. Yet a lawyer could screw us in just as many ways.

At this point we are going to know the value of our car at retail - it's about $15,000 for a 2003 Honda Accord. So we'd like to get between 15 and 20 grand out of this to put towards a new car. I CAN NOT BELIEVE we have to buy a new car. At this point we are considering a Honda Civic. My Honda was really, really good to me. We'll also test drive and consider Saturn Aura. I would love to buy a hybrid Prius or something of that quality but it is so much more expensive. And we are teachers. It's not like I have a money tree growing out back.

It's been a crazy week. First week of school and I've already missed a day with my kids! We are counting our blessings though. We are all ok. Cars are "things" and people are important.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2007-2008 AHS AVID Video

For the first year of AVID at our school, it sure was GREAT! If you would like the password to watch this video, please email me and I will send it to you. :)
Email Mr. Duez

AVID_2007_2008 from fordee on Vimeo.

Looking forward to making more memories in 2008-2009.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Flight School Landing

Hey everyone, it was great to see those of you who were up at school for flight school. I was there this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I missed Thursday because I had a class to take.

Freshmen - I am very excited about this year. We have a wonderful class shaping up. Our class roster is not totally finished yet, but it will be shortly. I am looking forward to getting started on the journey with you all.

Sophomores - You guys rock! Vanessa (and maybe CJ) will be heading to TMS to discuss the AVID binder on Monday morning. I am so excited for you guys and I wish I could be there. Unfortunately it is my first "contract" day of work. So I will be at AHS getting started and preparing for the school year.

I will be spending some time this week working on these things:
* AVID Parent Meeting Video ~ it is shaping up nicely!
* Double Checking student schedules to be sure that everyone is in classes that they should be.
* Hiring our final tutors. Right now we have 3 and I just need to hire one more!
* Planning our first two weeks together this year.

Can't wait to see everyone on August 25th during 6th and 7th periods!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flight School - Thu & Fri

Hey everyone, don't forget about Flight School:
Thursday for Sophomores
Friday for Freshmen

Get your schedules, visit with your counselors, check your locker, get your books.

I'll be there on Friday to meet with new AVID freshmen and their parents.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Parent Meeting - August 19th

Hope summer has been going great for everyone. I have had a wonderful, wonderful summer with my lovely wife and awesome boy.

School starts in just two weeks. I am very excited about it... this is going to be a GREAT year.

To get things kicked off we'll have our first AVID Parent Meeting on:
AUGUST 19th at 6:30 PM in the Auditorium at AHS (Also known as the Performing Arts Center or PAC)

We want to welcome all of our incoming freshmen from AMS and TMS (we have two full classes coming in) and welcome back our wonderful Juniors and Sophomores.

I will also be at school on Tuesday (for Senior Flight School) to recruit tutors for AVID. I will be up at school on Friday as well to be checking with freshmen and double checking their schedules. I would recommend very highly that you attend the sophomore AHS Flight School this week (it is on Thursday) and get your schedule verified with your counselor. They will be there from 8 to 2pm to sit down and be sure everything is how you want it.

If anyone has any questions about what classes they should be taking, please let me know. AVID period this year will be 6th period again. We will be meeting in my new classroom in the Blue House - room 2605. I can't wait to get started!

Can't wait to see everyone. Please spread the word about the AVID Parent Meeting (in case I miss anyone with the email) and let me know if you think you can make it. All students and family members are invited to come by on the 19th. I will be creating a video for the occasion to look back at the great things we accomplished last year and to invite our new AVID students.

Sunday, August 3, 2008