Friday, May 29, 2009

Story Written with Video Conferencing Students

a frisbee, something you can throw, someone getting hit on the head with something, unconscious


Russia, the Ural Mountains

A Russian guy, named Vladimir
A tourist radio salesman, named Funny.
A rabbit who talks, named Tibbar

Vladimir had been wanting to climb the treacherous Ural Mountains for all his life. When he was a little boy, his father had held him up to see the summits of the great mountains and said, “Some day you’ll climb those, son.”
His father had died almost eight years before, and Vladimir wanted to make sure he got to the summit of at least one mountain before he would pursue a normal job, which his mother was pestering him about.
Now he stood looking at the impressive snowy peaks, with a backpack filled with bottled water and trail mix. His pet hamster, Retsmah, was snuggled securely inside of his inner jacket pocket. He also carried one pair of snowshoes and a coil of rope.
He started climbing determinedly on the steepest--but shortest--path to the summit. It was hard work, and it felt as though the path was going straight up instead of at a slant.
“You get it easy, Retsmah,” Vladimir muttered.
He finally came to a non-snow covered area where he could sit down and eat some trail mix. He gave some hamster pellets to Retsmah and pulled out his own food bag when he heard the noise of great paws behind him. He jumped and turned. Behind him stood a huge white beast with ears sticking out of the top of its head.
A Yeti! Vladimir thought.
“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” he shrieked, and fell over in the snow as a result of his quick jump and shock.
“My goodness, humans do frighten easily,” the “Yeti” (Tibbar the rabbit) said in a bored voice.
“Yes they do--but not when they’re trying to sell you a radio, top-grade, stainless steel applications, one hundred and forty different channels, accessible everywhere--”
Now it was Tibbar’s turn to jump. Behind him stood a tall, strong man with a handlebar mustache, wearing an outlandish outfit of bright yellow pants with fluorescent green polka-dots and a purple shirt with red stripes.
“Who are you?” the rabbit sputtered.
“I’m Funny, radio salesman, at your service. As I was saying, the Model 1000 Radio has lots of excellent features, perfect for someone on-the-go like you. It fits on any window of your car, on your hand, in a bracelet, on your neck, in the pocket--” “Enough! I don’t want a radio!” Tibbar shouted.
“Oh, but you will, when you hear about this radio’s great capability to blast sounds everywhere! No one will be spared! Music you want to play will be played throughout the land because of this radio’s high-powered speakers and incredible ability to broadcast the sounds of the ancient dinosaurs. Here, I’ll show you.”
“No, you fool--” Tibbar shouted, but Funny had already started up the radio. Tibbar heard a great incoherent bellow from the radio. Vladimir jumped up, thinking that the Yeti was about to eat him from the dinosaur sounds, and ran for his life--up the mountain.
He ran so quickly, snowshoes, hamster, trail mix and all, that he reached the summit in no time flat. But then he turned around and saw a tall man in bright clothing in fast pursuit and fainted for the second time that day.
“Stainless steel applications!” he heard the man saying before he went unconscious. And it is still a tale told today of how Vladimir, hamster, snowshoes, and trail mix slid all the way down the Ural Mountains into the town of Ufa on the European side, and all because of a rabbit and a radio salesman.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Poem Written with Video Conferencing Students

I do not like walking my dog
It is a chore of a horrible jog,
For in pooping, he's quite precocious
And often can get ferocious;

The poop smelled like a baby's diaper
That hadn't been changed in months
I was in a coma from the stink
Of those odoriferous fecal lumps.

My dog has a habit of biting
At the leash, as though fighting,
As he pulls away, I fly in the air
Then land with a thump on my hair

My dog does not like walking with me
For he's always trying to run
He'd get out of the state if he could
My dog is just no fun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Story Written with Video Conferencing Students

Michael (clown)
Urkel (brown rabbit)
Peter Rabbit
Phil (bat)

Setting: in a candy shop (Goody-Goody Gumshop)

Plot: candy fight

Urkel Fickelstein, a distinguished gray rabbit, somewhat in his elderly years, was putting chocolate-dipped carrots on the shelves at the Goody-Goody Gumshop when three loudly bickering animals walked in.
“May I help you, sirs?” he asked politely, although he could not help but wrinkle up his nose at one rabbit’s outlandish attire. Urkel hated the Packers, and the colors the other rabbit wore clashed with his own loyalties to the Vikings and the Jets.
“Yes--get us two chocolate-dipped carrots, forty-eight Gumblestein Gumdrops, eighteen hay-wafers, and one gigantic Hershey’s Kiss.”
“Yes--they’ll be right with you,” Urkel said, bowing and retreating to the back room, where he kept his bulk supplies.
“Whatever could they need such a humongous amount of candy for?” he wondered out loud.
“We’ll need it, believe me,” Michael, a clown, snarled. Urkel jumped. He hadn’t realized that the clown was there.
“Here are the gumdrops,” he said, handing a huge sack to the clown.
“Hurry up with it, mister!” the clown snapped as he ran back to his friends.
Urkel started stacking up hay wafers in plastic wrap, but he was startled by the sound of breaking glass. He dashed out to investigate, and was shocked to find Willy Wonka bars littered all over the shop floor and his stain-glass window broken by a barrel of liquid sugar. In the midst of it all, the rabbit, clown, and bat were hurling huge gumdrops at each other while bellowing expletives. Urkel covered his ears. He hated foulmouthed customers.
“You! I’ll get you!” the bat shouted, and dropped a gumdrop right on top of Urkel’s head. The old rabbit winced.
“Stop it, you ruffians, or I’ll call the police on you! You owe me one hundred dollars, plus one trillion dollars for the damage to the shop!” Urkel roared with all his might. Roaring did not come naturally to rabbits, but he did it like a lion. Everyone froze in place and then started running like crazy (the bat flying.) Urkel suddenly thought of an idea. He filled a spray gun he had in his back room with extra-sticky liquid sugar, honey, and chocolate liquid as well as some partially melted gum, then ran after the fleeing animals. He aimed at the bat and sprayed straight and true right at the bat’s wings. Clogged by the heavy, sticky liquid, the bat sagged and finally descended onto the ground, struggling wildly.
“Wait there, hoodlum!” Urkel bellowed as he ran after the others. As the rabbit hopped away, Urkel sprayed some right below Peter Rabbit’s feet, so that when he came down, he stuck to the pavement.
Finally, he aimed at the clown. “Hmm,” he thought, and came up with an idea. He shot the most gummy part of his spray right at the clown’s hat, then, coming in closer, dragged the hat down and looped it around the clown’s feet so that he was stuck in a comedic--and very uncomfortable position.
Urkel heard footsteps behind him and turned to see a large pink pig. It was the sheriff. “What seems to be the trouble here, Mr. Finkelstein?” the sheriff, a lumbering pig, asked gruffly.
“These bunch of hoodlums stole candy from me and broke glass in my store,” Urkel said indignantly.
“Right. We’ll have them pay a fine of one trillion dollars,” the sheriff said and pulled out a spray gun of his own.
“What’s in there?” Urkel inquired.
“Goody-goody gumdrops,” the sheriff responded with a smile.


Moral A: Never get in candy fights.
Moral B: Never steal candy.
Moral C: Never vandalize candyshops.
Moral D: If you commit the above crimes, pay the fine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I was thinking...

My mom said to me recently as we were looking at videos of my earliest school presentations, "Adora, you've come a long way."

This got me thinking--whenever anyone says that to you, respond, "Sure, I've come a long way--but in which direction?"

In this manner, you'll be able to tell if it's a cleverly masked insult. In my case, it wasn't...but who knows, it's possible!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adora's Elluminate Presentation: A Kid's Eye View of an Innovative Classroom

On May 14th, 2009, eleven-year-old published author Adora Svitak presented her program, "A Kid's Eye View of an Innovative Classroom," to over 140 teachers from places as diverse as Amherst, Massachusetts to British Columbia, Canada; London, England; and Brazil and Portugal. Adora's presentation focused on "innovative classroom tools" that teachers could use in their classrooms to get kids interested in reading, writing, and learning. 

Speaking through the online interactive web-conferencing system Elluminate, Adora was able to talk into a microphone headset connected to her computer, highlight important points on the interactive whiteboard, and answer teachers' questions while streaming live video from her house in Washington State. The response was generally positive. One viewer said, "Very engaging and inspiring"; Joseph M. from Pepperdine University said, "Thank you and keep up the good work."

The link for viewing Adora's session is available at:
Just click on Adora's presentation title, "A Kid's Eye View of an Innovative Classroom," at the top. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

One of the most confusing things my older sister, Adrianna, and I have to face is that our mom never wants anything for Mother's Day--never wants anything material, that is. Nothing that we could buy in a store--nothing that she could get for herself.

This is all very well and creative and touching in theory, but it's hard. Because when you realize what our mom can't get by herself, it ends up being something like two hours of piano recitals for the family (Adrianna) or our dedication to learning Chinese. Do you know why lots of people stopped making homemade gifts? Buying them at a store is just easier. (I'm not saying that I'm advocating stopping making homemade gifts; I think that they really show a person's care and love.)

So I think there should be a sort of Mother's Day chart. We have the guide for anniversary presents--on your first anniversary, you get something made out of paper (traditional) or clocks (modern), cotton (t) or china (m), leather, silk, wool, etc. We should have exactly the same kind of guide for Mother's Day, based on how long your mother has a.) been a mother (starting with the birth of the oldest sibling) or b.) been your mother. This would make an occasionally confusing holiday a whole lot easier.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Random Ponderances and 10 Events of the Day

10 Events of the Day

Sadly, I haven't updated my blog too often; I've been fairly busy. Here are a few of the things I did today:

1. Fed Minnie, our pet guinea pig, and brought her upstairs so she could play;
2. Ate breakfast while listening to the NPR comedic news-quiz show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me;
3. Helped my mom with accounting the family finances (fun, isn't it?)
4. Did some weeding and checked on my amateur garden;
5. Went to the bank with my mom, after which we walked to the library, after which we walked to the Saturday Market;
6. Bought some local cheese from Samish Bay Cheese at the Sat. Market;
7. Supported local industry and another young artist by buying a handmade letter-opener from the thirteen-year-old woodturner, Daniel Franklin (
8. Walked home, up the arduous Education Hill that, from a distance, looks like it's going straight up into the air--that's how steep it is!
9. Arrived home and began eating cheese.
10. Started writing this blog post.

Random Ponderances

I was thinking about natural selection and Darwin's theory of evolution recently and a thought came to me; with our new advances in technology, science, and medicine, we are in effect halting or slowing down natural selection--among our own species, at any rate--by pioneering new treatments for the ill and elderly, who, in the past, might otherwise not have lived. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing; I cheer on all the new innovations we develop to help the less fortunate. However, you have to wonder what the effects of our advances will be a few thousand years down the road?

I was thinking about the saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill." I would like to add, "But really, the grass on both sides is wilted and brown." Or maybe, "The grass is really just an optical illusion; the hill is covered in weeds." Or, "Granted, we're all color-blind." That might be a little more accurate.